Case study 2 - Health services, equipment fit for purpose
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.
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
Other solutions were also suggested to eliminate or reduce the risk, these
- 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.