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.

Yet, as of 2006, no states were on pace to achieve the target of hiring 100 percent highly qualified teachers, influential source as legally required by the federal no child left behind act, and many had failed even to establish a clear definition of the term