Case study 2 - Health services, equipment fit for purpose

The task

A newly built hospital had received reports from the nurses that the carpets made the mobile patient hoist far too difficult to manoeuvre. As a result the nurses stopped using the hoists.

Assessing the risk

The nurses identified that the carpets were an important risk factor in the task. When a patient was occupying the hoist, the wheels sank into the carpet, making it difficult to move. The hoist's wheels were made from rubber, which is suitable for smooth and/or hard floors.

The solution

Consulting with the supplier they found it was possible to change the wheels of the hoist to a type that is more suited for use on carpets such as polyurethane. The required force to manoeuvre the hoist was reduced by approximately 40% due to the new wheels. The hoists were now used when necessary for moving patients.

Other solutions were also suggested to eliminate or reduce the risk, these were:

  • Replacing the new carpets - this was a very expensive solution so attention focused on the hoist.
  • Another option considered was to increase the wheel size, as this also would reduce the required force, but in this case this was not possible due to the hospital beds clearance range.

Source: WorkCover New South Wales, Australia.

rubber wheels
The problem (rubber wheels).
polyurethane wheels
The solution (polyurethane wheels).

Is this page useful?

Updated 2021-06-30