Portable patient handling ceiling hoists

This document is no longer current and is available on the website for historic purposes only.



Recently a resident at an aged care facility was fatally injured when the resident fell while being moved using a portable patient handling ceiling hoist.

There have been several other incidents where portable patient handling ceiling hoists, which use latching hooks and wands or just wands (also known as extension arms), failed when transferring patients, causing serious injuries.

Control measures

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.

This 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 health.

You should:

  • use permanently attached (as opposed to portable) ceiling hoists where reasonably practicable
  • ensure manufacturer instructions for installation, use, maintenance and cleaning of hoists are followed in the workplace
  • provide information, instruction and training to employees and contractors on how to properly connect, check and use hoists, and provide supervision as necessary
  • require employees and contractors to undertake pre and post connection checks (and cross checks) of hoist components that are required to lock together during use
  • ensure load ratings are identified and marked on hoist suspension components, and keep records of these ratings at the workplace
  • arrange regular inspection, testing and maintenance of hoists – it may be necessary to engage a third-party service provider who has expertise in hoist inspection and maintenance
  • withdraw and dispose of damaged, worn or faulty hoist components

This safety alert replaces the safety alert Patient handling – portable ceiling hoists (August 2013).

More information

For additional information on the safe use of hoists and maintenance and testing requirements, see AS/NZS ISO 10535: Hoists for the transfer of disabled persons – Requirements and test methods.