On this page

  • Permanently attached ceiling hoists
  • Risks associated with portable patient-handling ceiling hoists
  • Instructions and recordkeeping
  • Employee use of portable ceiling hoists and hoist hooks
  • Inspection, testing and maintenance of portable ceiling hoists and hoist hooks
  • Safety devices and load capacities
  • Hoist hook design

Permanently attached ceiling hoists

Where reasonably practicable, workplaces should use permanently attached ceiling hoists rather than portable ceiling hoists to transfer people. However, when a permanently attached ceiling hoist is not reasonably practicable the information on this page can help employers reduce risks to health and safety.

Risks associated with portable patient-handling ceiling hoists

The failure of portable patient-handling ceiling hoist components has led to injuries and even deaths in aged care facilities. As an employer, you must, so far as is reasonably practicable, ensure that persons, including patients, employees, contractors and members of the public, are not exposed to risks to their health or safety.

Your duty as an employer includes ensuring plant such as portable patient-handling ceiling hoists is provided and maintained in a way that is safe and without risks to health. You must also provide employees and contractors with necessary information, instruction, training and supervision to perform their jobs safely and without risks to their health.

The following information can help eliminate or reduce the risk of injuries when using portable ceiling hoists and hoist hooks to transfer people.

Instructions and recordkeeping

Correct installation and use of portable ceiling hoists and hoist hooks and keeping accurate records can help reduce risks to health and safety.

  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions or the instructions of a competent person for the installation, use, maintenance and cleaning of patient hoists, hoist hooks and components.
  • Keep the patient hoist and hoist hook instructions at the workplace and ensure the instructions are available to employees and contractors.
  • Identify the patient hoist and hoist hook load ratings, mark the load ratings on the hoist suspension components and ensure the marks remain legible.
  • Uniquely identify patient hoist and hoist hook assemblies for the recording and tracking of inspections, maintenance and repairs.
  • Ensure inspection, maintenance and repair records are in an easily accessible format and give the reader a clear understanding of what has taken place in relation to the operation, inspection, maintenance and repair of the patient hoist and hoist hook components.
  • Keep inspection, maintenance and repair records for the life of the hoist and hoist hook assemblies.

Employee use of portable ceiling hoists and hoist hooks

It is crucial employees know how to properly use and check equipment such as portable ceiling hoists.

  • Ensure employees and contractors receive information, instruction and training on how to use the hoist for patient handling, including how to correctly connect hoists and hoist hook assemblies, and how and when to check for correct connection.
  • Ensure employees and contractors perform the necessary pre-operation checks to ensure the patient hoist and hoist hook assembly remains safe for use and is undamaged.
  • Ensure employees and contractors perform post-connection checks of the patient hoist connection to the hoist hook to confirm the hoist and hoist hook components are latched correctly.
  • Ensure employees and contractors use the patient hoist and hoist hook assemblies correctly. Employers must provide supervision as necessary.

Inspection, testing and maintenance of portable ceiling hoists and hoist hooks

Regular inspections, maintenance and tests of equipment help to eliminate or reduce risks from the use of portable ceiling hoists and hoist hooks.

  • Perform inspections, maintenance and repairs of patient hoist and hoist hook assemblies at the time periods stated by the manufacturer or as determined by a competent person, taking into account the frequency of use. At a minimum, inspections, maintenance and repairs should take place at least once a year. It may be necessary to engage a third-party service provider who has expertise in patient hoist and hoist hook inspection and maintenance.
  • Ensure a competent person has successfully tested patient hoist use and patient hoist components. Guidance on testing is available in AS NZS ISO 10535: Hoists for the transfer of disabled persons – Requirements and test methods.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions or the instructions of a competent person when assessing and withdrawing and disposing of damaged, worn or faulty patient hoists, hoist hooks and components.

Safety devices and load capacities

Making sure portable ceiling hoists and hoist hooks have appropriate safety features and do not exceed load limits can help eliminate or reduce risks associated with their use.

  • Ensure patient lifting hoists have a safety device that prevents the lifted person from falling should the hoist suffer a single-fault condition. A single-fault condition occurs when a single measure to reduce a risk is defective or a single abnormal condition exists. More information about safety devices and single-fault conditions is available in AS/NZS ISO 10535 and in AS/NZ IEC 60601-1 Medical electrical equipment – Part 1: General requirements for basic safety and essential performance.
  • As required in AS/NZS ISO 10535, ensure the patient hoist has a connection point designed so the body-support equipment does not inadvertently detach.
  • Make sure that when hoisting a person the lifting hoist's rated capacity exceeds the person's body mass, including the mass of any body-support equipment. As a minimum, the hoist should be capable of lifting at least 120kg, plus the mass of any body-support equipment.
  • Ensure the load applied to the patient hoist hook does not exceed the hook's rated capacity.

Hoist hook design

Inappropriate hoist hook design can lead to failures resulting in injury and death. Take the following action to reduce risks associated with hoist hooks.

  • Use only patient hoist hooks designed to be fail-safe and that are part of an overall fail-safe system.
  • Use patient hoist hooks with a rounded design which encourages the load to sit in the correct location within the hook.
  • Ensure patient hoist hooks have robust and functioning spring-loaded or self-closing latches.

Further information

As well as making sure workplaces follow manufacturer instructions or those of a competent person for the installation, use, maintenance, cleaning and discarding of patient hoists and hoist hooks, employers should also consider the following Australian Standards when deciding which hoists and hoist hooks to use in the workplace:

  • AS/NZS ISO 10535 Hoists for the Transfer of Disabled Persons
  • AS/NZ IEC 60601-1 Medical electrical equipment – Part 1: General requirements for basic safety and essential performance
  • AS 3777 Shank Hooks and Large Eye Hooks.