Moving and Handling in residential age care

Moving and Handling and the Health and Safety Act

Thanks to Jessie Snowdon, Physiotherapist for contributing the below article – 


All managers will be acutely aware of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) and the responsibilities of, and potential penalties, for PCBUs (persons conducting a business or undertaking).

The HSWA requires businesses to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of its workers. This includes safe systems of work, equipment, training and monitoring the health of workers. These processes are all included in the policies and procedures designed specifically for residential aged care facilities by HCSL.

Within the residential care industry staff are exposed to significant hazards daily in terms of patient handling and manual handling for kitchen/laundry staff.  Moving and handling is a hazardous task – it is repetitive, can involve high force (heavy residents) and frequently involves awkward postures. The likelihood of injury for both care staff and residents is high and the consequences can be serious, meaning that moving and handling is a high risk activity.

When we consider moving and handling in this light, managers need to be confident that they have safe systems. Consider how each resident’s transfer abilities are assessed. How is this documented and communicated? How do you know you have the correct equipment on site and how do you ensure that you have enough equipment in order for staff to be able to access it when they need it?

Our experience shows that often if the equipment is not available many staff will do an unsafe transfer in order to save time.  How do you ensure new staff are competent prior to undertaking moving and handling tasks? How do you ensure that existing staff are up-skilled? How do you implement the New Zealand guidelines? And how do you monitor your systems, equipment and training? These are questions all managers should be able to answer.

On the Go Physio carries out Moving and Handling training in over 15 facilities in Canterbury and offer training to representatives from many others. We offer tailored packages which can include up-skilling your whole team, or training your own moving and handling trainers and assessors. We can review your training and orientation systems and assist in equipment trials. If you are interested in discussing your facilities requirements to help you ensure your staff, and resident’s, health and safety contact us here.

For residential care specific policies and procedures related to safe moving and handling, along with related forms for use, contact HCSL here.


Contributed by: Jessie Snowdon (Senior Physiotherapist and Director)

‘On the Go Physio Ltd’

PO Box 32 004, Christchurch 8147

Ph: 0800 000 856 or Mobile: 021 030 9061

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