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Safely Moving People Using Bariatric Equipment — Health and Safety Policy

Policy Statement

This policy relates to the safe supporting of people who weigh more than the safe working loads of standard hoists.

It is the aim of {{org_field_name}} to reduce the incidence of musculoskeletal injuries caused by manual handling and to reduce the risk of injury for the people themselves.

{{org_field_name}} recognises that the use of bariatric equipment may present additional challenges and risks for staff where manual handling is concerned.

{{org_field_name}} recognises the risks involved with moving and handling operations and is aware of tragic accidents that have caused injuries and even death to people receiving care in the health and care sectors in the past.

Compliance with this policy whilst performing manual handling tasks does not guarantee that an injury will be avoided. However, compliance will help to significantly reduce any risks and enhance the safety of all concerned.

Where any person needs assistance with their mobility, it is essential that their records or care plans contain a full assessment of their needs. The assessment should identify the moving and handling aids and techniques that are required to move the person safely in any situation.

It is important to understand that manual handling injuries can happen to anyone regardless of capability, age, strength or fitness. Inappropriate manual handling practices are likely to result in musculoskeletal injuries.

This policy should be read in addition to the existing policy on Moving, Handling and Transferring People, which contains further information on {{org_field_name}}’s minimal handling policy.

Compliance with Legislation

{{org_field_name}} recognises its responsibility under the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR) to ensure that all reasonable precautions are taken to provide and maintain working conditions that are safe, healthy and compliant with all statutory requirements and codes of practice. Employees, people who use the service and contractors are expected to abide by safety rules and to have regard to the safety of others.

{{org_field_name}} further recognises its duty under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 and the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) to ensure the safety of all manual handling operations and avoid the need for hazardous manual handling as far is as reasonably practicable.


{{org_field_name}} understands manual handling as the transporting or supporting of loads by hand or by bodily force without mechanical help. This includes activities such as lifting, carrying, shoving, pushing, pulling, nudging and sliding heavy objects. It also covers the moving and handling of people by staff.

Bariatric equipment is defined as that designed to be used by people who weigh more than the safe working load of standard equipment, usually 150–180kg (23.5–28 stone).

Policy for Safely Assisting People Who Use Bariatric Equipment

The following will reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries.

  1. A specific manual handling risk assessment must be carried out by a competent person as part of a full risk assessment for every person receiving care regardless of their weight. The risk assessment must be completed at the initial assessment when the person’s care and support plan is being devised and recorded.
  2. Where a person is being discharged from hospital or transferred from another service, staff should be involved with a multi-agency assessment which includes their moving and handling needs prior to admission, starting to provide a service or discharge.
  3. Assessments should take into consideration:
    a. the tasks to be undertaken
    b. the individual capability of the person using the service and the staff undertaking the handling activities
    c. the weight of the individual to be handled
    d. the environment where the handling is to take place.
  4. During the initial assessment, staff should try to ascertain an accurate measure of the person’s weight. This should be recorded and monitored.
  5. Where required, a specific manual handling action plan (or safe system of work) for the moving and handling of the person should be completed. This should aim to offer protection to both staff members and people who use the service.
  6. The manual handling risk assessment and the action plan should be reviewed and updated as and when the person’s condition changes or when any other factors relating to the risk assessment change.
  7. The risk assessment and action plan should be referred to by all staff who are involved in any moving and handling activity with the individual concerned. It is the responsibility of all care staff to ensure they have read and understood the risk assessment documentation prior to the handling operation. They must ensure that safe practice is always practised.
  8. All lifting equipment used should be assessed for suitability prior to use and the following points should be considered.
    a. Is the safe working load of the equipment adequate for the weight of the person concerned?
    b. Does the equipment have adequate internal proportions (width and depth) to accommodate the person?
    c. Is the height of the equipment suitable?
    d. Are the breaking and wheel locking mechanisms working?
    e. Is the equipment in good overall condition and does it feature a robust construction?
    f. Have the maintenance and servicing requirements been complied with?
    g. Is the use of the equipment compatible with the environment and space in which it will be used?
    h. Is its use compatible with other pieces of equipment in use?
  9. Every piece of equipment such as beds, chairs, hoists and slings have a Safe Working Load (SWL). It is imperative that the SWL is not exceeded as it will affect the safety and stability of the equipment. Consideration needs to be given as to whether any specialist equipment or assessment is required.
  10. The appropriate number of handlers for the operation being considered should be identified and documented in the action plan. All handlers must be familiar with the system of work for the procedure being implemented and may require additional training in the use of unfamiliar equipment.
  11. Staff should remember that risk assessments, action plans and safe systems of work should be in place for all moving and handling actions including the movement or turning of the person in bed and the movement of limbs, such as raising or lowering a leg.
  12. Staff should never, in any circumstances, attempt to perform a moving and handling operation on any person where they lack sufficient training, where they do not have equipment with the weight tolerances required or where they believe there is a significant risk of injury involved, either to themselves or to the person receiving care.
  13. Where required, specialist advice will be obtained from a suitably trained person such as a back-care advisor.

Person-centred Principles

Reporting of Accidents and Incidents

All accidents or incidents involving moving and handling should be reported, including near-misses (where an accident could have occurred but was narrowly avoided). Staff must complete an incident form following any accident or incident, and statements should be taken from witnesses to the incident whenever appropriate.

All incidents should be investigated and accident statistics and reports regularly reviewed by senior management to identify any trends or patterns. Managers should review the risk management approach in the light of experience and review training and/or equipment needs as appropriate.


All staff will be given adequate training and information on manual handling risks relating to the use of bariatric equipment and how to avoid them. Such training should focus on specific tasks and equipment as well as on the more general information required to carry out safe manual handling for this group of people who use the service.

Staff attend appropriate training to develop, maintain and update their moving and handling skills. Managers and supervisors must ensure that their employees attend this training, which is provided on induction and refreshers for all care staff.

Responsible Person: {{org_field_registered_manager_first_name}} {{org_field_registered_manager_last_name}}

Reviewed on: {{last_update_date}}

Next review date: this policy is reviewed annualy (every 12 months). When needed, this policy is also updated in response to changes in legislation, regulation, best practices, or organisational changes.

Copyright ©2024 {{org_field_name}}. All rights reserved

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