The transfer of bariatric patients led to a Health and Safety Authority (HSA) inspection of a healthcare setting in November 2020. The name of the setting was redacted in documents released to the Medical Independent by the HSE under Freedom of Information law. The transfer of bariatric patients to and from their home is a challenging manual handling task, according to the HSA’s correspondence to HSE CEO Mr Paul Reid. It is “foreseeable that there could be exposure of staff to ergonomic risk factors”.
“However, there is no evidence of a task specific manual handling risk assessment to take account of the pushing/pulling of the loaded trolley into the ambulance and out of the ambulance,” outlined the HSA correspondence, which was to also be issued to the healthcare setting.
The risk assessment should identify any ergonomic risk factors and “there needs to be clear evidence of what appropriate measures are put in place to address” such risks.
“This risk assessment should also help identify the benefits, if any, of retrofitting the Megasus trolley with extension handles, which would allow more personnel to be involved in moving the trolley.” A method statement or safe system of work needs to be documented to demonstrate the correct procedures to follow at each stage of the task, according to the HSA inspector’s letter. Electrical risks in a changing room were also identified in the same inspection.
“The main fuse board, including isolator, and fire panel located in the female locker adjacent to a shower with no extraction, could be adversely affected by moisture.” The inspector stated that a comprehensive risk assessment should be undertaken on this electrical installation to determine the risks and controls needed. This should include testing and inspection by a competent person. The inspector also referred to the main corridor being used for storage, with a reduction in available width, which should be assessed under fire and building regulations.