Risk of death and serious harm by falling from hoists

A stage one alert has been issued to highlight the risk of falls from hoists.

Patient safety alerts are shared rapidly with healthcare providers via the Central Alerting System (CAS).

The alert has been issued following patient safety incident reports that suggest existing Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advice on safely using hoists and providing training had not always been reliably and systematically implemented.

A National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS) search identified that there have been 15 incidents in a recent four year period where a person has come to harm through falls from hoists, including one death and three severe injuries.

The reported incidents occurred in acute hospitals, care homes and individuals’ own homes. Problems described potentially affect mechanical and electrical hoists, free-standing, ceiling or wall-mounted hoists, and hoists used as bathing aids and standing aids.

Providers of NHS-funded care have been asked to raise awareness of the risk among staff and to ensure they have an action plan underway to reduce the risk of these incidents occurring.

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