Why Patient Hoists are so Important
Measuring for a general purpose sling for a hoist
How to Perform Safety Checks on a Hoist
For patients with restricted mobility, it is your responsibility to ensure you have the safety of equipment installed to ensure comfort and support the patient. Patient mobile and ceiling hoists are the most cost effective and useful way that can help out.
In this blog, we discuss what checks you should be taking on your hoist to ensure that it is safe for use:
Check 1: Check the servicing timeframe on the hoist and ensure it has been serviced in the last 6 months
Primarily we suggest that you check the service label on the hoist, this can be found usually near the main hoist sticker, check the service date is within 6 month on the hoist, sling and any accessories. There are also items on the hoist which will need periodic replacement such as the batteries, actuators, and straps.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advise that your hoist must have routine maintenance in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. Hoists also require a LOLER examination (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations) every 6 months. In most cases, lifting equipment is also work equipment so the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) will also apply.
These regulations apply to people and companies who own, operate, or have control over lifting equipment. Your ceiling track hoist system, mobile hoists, and any accessories should be serviced once a year this will keep it in good working condition and give you peace of mind that everything is in good order.
So, make sure your mobile or ceiling hoist is in its service date before using it. If it isn’t on a date, make sure you report it to your service and maintenance provider so that they can schedule an urgent service.
Check 2: Check the hoist is fully functional
Check the hoist movement before you start using it, just use the hoist as you would if it were lifting a service user. Using the handset to check if the hoist moves up and down, and the hoist goes backwards and forwards properly, or if on the ceiling hoist track to make sure there aren’t any obvious signs of damage. Then make sure the wheels are turning and free from obstruction.
If you have an X-Y ceiling hoist system installed, then you can also check the rail that runs between the two parallel rails can move around easily.
Then check the wiring on the handset to make sure there are no obvious evident issues, such as the wiring coming slack and uncurled.
Check 3: Check the sling is in good condition
With most hoist users, you’ll be using a sling to help lift and move the patient around. As with the hoist unit and track, the sling should also be checked for any signs of damage or error prior to every use.
Firstly take a good look at the sling; if you see any tears or fraying then the sling should not be used. Any damage (no matter how small) can cause concern for the safety of the user.
The sling serial number should be visible and not worn also double-check that the sling is the right style and size for the user (this should be detailed in the person’s care plan).
Ensure that it is the right type of fixing on the sling is being used for the hoist – clip slings should never be used on loop-fixing spreader bars, and loop fixing slings should never be used on a clip fixing spreader bar.
Check 4: Check the safe working load of the hoist is adequate for the transfer
It is important that you know the safe working load of any type of hoist that you use, as well as the weight of the person being transferred. Hoists range from 150kg capacity with ceiling hoists going upto over 300kg, the capacity of the lift can be found in the instruction documents and manual the safe working load will always be visible somewhere on the hoist too. Usually on the bottom of the mobile hoist or unit of the overhead hoist. One thing to bear in mind with a ceiling hoist is that the safe working load of the overhead unit may be different from the track. Always use the minimum safe working load as your point of reference.
Check 5: Check that the hoist brakes are off
For mobile hoists, it’s important to remember that when the hoist is in use, the brakes must be off. The hoist will find its own centre of gravity. If the brakes are on, the service user will potentially be pulled into an distressing position towards the hoist.
It is good practice to put the brakes on when the hoist is in storage or not in use. You should also turn the battery off and put it on a charge to prolong its life.
Check 6: Check the location of the emergency functions
The final safety check prior to using a hoist is to check all operations and controls. This includes the emergency safety features such as the emergency stop and emergency lowering functions.
There will either be a red button, usually located in an accessible place on a mobile hoist. Or a red cord hanging down from a ceiling hoist. It’s best practice to get to know where these are and ensure they work correctly before using any type of hoist.
Here at Carelift Services, based in Norfolk, we provide a range of ceiling and mobile hoists as well as professional servicing and maintenance on all lifts. We are BHTA approved so our experienced teamwill provide the best possible advice to meet your requirements, and ensure installs are completed to 100% satisfaction. For more information contact us today.
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