The Problem

Why is Safe Patient Handling Necessary?

Did you know that research data shows that nurses lift an estimated 1.8 tons per 8 hour shift!(Kate Tuohy-Main. 1997. “Why Manual Handling Should be Eliminated for Resident and Career Safety” Geriaction. 15, 10-14.)

Manual handling, and in particular patient handling, is identified as hazardous. Think about the weight, size, shape and issues associated with moving and transferring a live load such as a person. Particularly when they are ill or un-cooperative.


O’Shea assessed 609 staff in a hospital in California and 401 of those participating identified pain and fatigue which they directly attributed to manual handling tasks associated with moving and repositioning patients.

In Australia

In 2008 – 2009 the cost of Workcover claims due to ‘body stress’ reached $109 700 000

In the same year, claims from the Health and Community Services industry were costed at $97 700 000

In the USA

According to the Liberty Mutual Group in 2010, injuries from overexertion – excessive lifting, pushing, pulling, holding – cost $13 610 000 000 and accounted for 26.8% of the injuries.

In New Zealand

In 2009 the hospital sector’s injury claims cost the ACC (New Zealand's accident compensation scheme) $8 million.

The residential care sector’s claims for injuries cost $6 million.