Specialist Patient Handling Equipment

Illegal Moving and Handling Techniques

Illegal Moving and Handling Techniques – Is there such a thing?

During our training we are often asked the question Are there illegal moving and handling techniques? The strict answer is ‘no’, there are no moving and handling techniques that have been specifically banned by legislation. However there are moving and handling handling techniques that are highly controversial and are banned in most modern care environments. Rather than being called illegal manual handling techniques we call the practices ‘Controversial lifts’.

If there was an accident involving a controversial lift, it would be very hard to defend the action, expert witness would identify the controversial lift and ask questions why it was employed. So ensure you and your staff know what controversial lifts are and make sure that no-one in your organisation is using them!

What lifts are controversial?

below is a list of controversial lifts that have effectively been banned and therefore could be classed as illegal moving and handling techniques. For a more thorough explanation of these lifts, book onto one of our training courses, where they will be explained in greater detail, along with the reasons that they are controversial.

The Drag Lift

This refers to lifting or supporting a patient under the armpit by use of the carers crook of the elbow. It could be used to lift someone up the bed, support to a standing position or to lift off the floor. THis lift puts strain on the patient’s shoulders, transfers strain to the lumbar region of eth carers back and could create shear forces damaging to the skin. Additionally the patient is encouraged by this action to be passive, making the carer do most of the heavy lifting, creating a risk for carer and patient.

The Orthodox Lift

A lift where two carers stand either side of a patient and form a cradle with their hands, arms and wrist in order to lift and move a patient. As the lift is done at arms length there is an immediate risk, and the position puts immense strain on the carer lumbar region.

Lifting with the Person’s Arms around the Carer’s Neck

A carer places their arms under the person’s shoulders and hands around the back. This is a high risk transfer, especially if the chair is a low back chair. This relies on the momentum of the carer to get a person to sa standing position and there is no control over the person’s lower back or pelvis and if something goes wrong.

Through Arm Lift

A technique used to lift a person from bed or backwards from a bed into a wheelchair where two carers face the bottom of the bed sitting behind the patient.  The carers link arms behind the patients back and under the person’s knees or thighs and the person is lifted. This lift is operated at a distance from the carers spine, putting strain on the spine and there is twisting and risk of injury to the carers shoulders.

Walking a Person Linking Arms

A carer and patient linking arms when walking is a high risk activity as the carer may take most of the patient’s body weight and will take all of it if they stumble or fall, resulting in injury to the carer.

Combined Lift

A lift where one carer uses a shoulder lift and the other faces the opposite way placing an inner hand under the person’s sacrum. Both carers hold a handling sling placed under the person’s thighs. This is a high risk activity and has the same dangers as the drag lift.

Flip Turn on Bed

To move a patient across the bed, one or two carers place both hands under the patient moving the person towards them and then roll away in one movement. This is a high risk activity because the load is taken at distance from the carer’s body.

For more information on these, or other controversial lifts, visit the HSE or RCN website.

Don’t take the risk on illegal moving and handling techniques- book your training today

If you want to ensure that these techniques are never used in your establishment why not book  atrining session today? Our inspirational trainers will

  • Explain why these lifts are banned
  • Explain the consequences
  • Offer alternatives

Call us on 0800 298 6000 or fill in the form below to enquire about our training programme.