With musculoskeletal disorders responsible for the loss of 1.5million working days in the health and social care sector each year, Alison Carter explores the issue of patient moving and handling and the importance of extensive training.

According to the Health and Safety Executive 5% of workers in the health and social care sector each year suffer from an illness they believe to be work-related, with 37% of those illnesses being attributed to musculoskeletal disorders. Further HSE statistics assert that 2% of workers in the industry sustain a non- fatal workplace injury. Lifting and handling injuries comprise 27% of this overall figure.

With 1.5million working days lost each year because of work-related musculoskeletal disorders, the need for extensive patient handling training is clear.

Training is a Must The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) offers a series of moving and handling training courses in a bid to encourage those working in environments where manual handling is essential to operate safely and efficiently.

Tomorrow’s Care caught up with Karen McDonnell, Occupational Health & Safety Policy Advisor for RoSPA, to find out more about the suite of courses on offer. Karen commented: “The training we provide is designed to meet the challenges associated with musculoskeletal disorders and workplace associated absence through sickness, within the care profession. We promote excellence and safer people handling by providing training which educates staff in the principles of safe moving and handling.

“Essentially we facilitate a problem solving approach by helping workers meet the necessary requirements.”

The courses run in two strands manual handling of people and manual handling of objects. RoSPA’s manual handling of people courses

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target the health and care sector where the manual handling of people is the biggest cause of injury to both staff and service users. The courses offer people handling trainers, and other individuals, the chance to learn more about patient movement techniques, risks assessments, handling hoists, as well as the study of haptonomy.

the health and social care sector suffer

from an illness they believe to be work- related, each year”

Karen said the RoSPA team, comprising both health and safety and healthcare professionals are constantly striving to provide relevant courses that reflect current best practice. She added: “Through these courses we assist healthcare professionals to understand the principles of safe moving and handling techniques and contribute to them being able to provide excellence in care. The courses not only develop the individual carer but also help to reduce absences linked to injuries sustained as a result of poor handling and movement.”

An Overlooked Issue? The Health & Social Care Act 2008 states that care homes and nursing agencies providing home help must ensure their employees are of good character, have the necessary skills, experience and qualifications to do their jobs efficiently. The act also says

“5% of workers in

that all staff should be physically and mentally fit to carry out their duties.

When asked if patient handling in the healthcare sector, and the connected legislation, is sometimes overlooked Karen points towards a number of high profile court cases involving organisations within the care sector who have failed to provide adequate staff training. She continued: “In light of this RoSPA has endeavoured to ensure that, by continually refining our suite of courses, there is something that meets the needs of the profession.

“Our approach is always evolving and we routinely refresh our courses to ensure they provide the two blocks of techniques that are current and relevant for the people attending the programme.”

RoSPA plan to continually improve their courses, and take on board the feedback from their delegates in a bid to make the programmes more effective.

For more information about the legal requirements regarding the moving and handling of patients please consult the following legislation:

• Health & Social Care Act 2008.

• Health and Safety at Work Act (1974).

• Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992.

• Manual Handling operations Regulations 1992 (MOHR).

• Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR).

• Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOER).

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