Using An Oxford Hoist: Safety Precautions

Summary. Learn how to use a hoist safely with Joerns Healthcare’s insightful guidance, ensuring both caregiver and patient safety during transfers. This resource provides step-by-step instructions on using a hoist, highlighting the importance of correct equipment choice, pre-use checks, and routine maintenance. Your safety is paramount, hence understanding the safe working load and ensuring a clear operational area is essential for safe hoist operation.


If you or a loved one is considering using a hoist, it’s understandable that you’d want to learn how to operate that hoist safely. Whether you’ve had hoist training or not, if you’re looking for information on how to use a hoist, step by step, here at Joerns Healthcare, we can support you.

Joerns Healthcare is one of the world’s leading providers of patient lifting and handling equipment, including hoists. The lifting equipment we supply is designed to prioritise the safety and comfort of the user as well as the caregiver. This ethos during product development ensures Oxford hoists, when used correctly, help deliver the safest levels of care.

Why Use a Hoist?

When considering how to use a hoist, we must take into account the reasoning behind using the hoist in the first place. Hoists specifically support the lift and transfer of someone from one place to another. Specifically when a person does not have the required level of mobility in order to stand and move themselves safely without assistance. There are of course many circumstances that can result in someone needing to use a hoist. These include:

  • Ageing
  • Acute injury
  • Disability

Hoist Safety

Using a patient hoist is generally a much safer option to move a patient than other more manual techniques. These are more likely to put your own body under avoidable stress and at risk of injury. However, there are still a number of important factors that must be considered before operating or using patient lifting equipment.

The following factors are just some of the considerations to take into account prior to engaging in any lifting or transfer activity. Conduct this process as a risk assessment to ensure safe activity performance with all risks mitigated, whether associated with the patient, the environment, or the equipment. Indeed, it will be a combination of these factors that require due diligence.

Correct Equipment Choice(s)

Incorrectly sized slings or the wrong type of hoist can mean that the person using the device is not supported appropriately or safely. At best, this can result in discomfort for the patient. At worst, it will create significant risks to the health and safety of both patient and caregiver. Poor equipment selection can result in a hoist overturning during use, a patient falling out of a sling, leading to serious injury.

It is crucially important that before using patient handling equipment, you are in no doubt it is appropriate for the patient, their specific conditions, physical and cognitive abilities and also the type of transfer you wish to take place. Ask yourself, is the sling designed for that purpose? Is it the right size? Is it compatible with the hoist? Will it provide adequate support for the patient? These are just some of the things to consider prior to any lifting taking place.

Safe Working Load

Directly related to selecting appropriate equipment, is to ensure the safe working load of said equipment is suitable for the patient. Before using a hoist, you must ensure the patient’s weight falls within the hoist’s weight restrictions. Overloading a sling and/or or hoist is dangerous and compromises the safety of both the patient and caregiver.

Equipment Checks

Over time, equipment can deteriorate through regular use and general wear and tear. For example, the fabric of a sling can become weakened through extensive washing and drying cycles. Perform a visual check before each use to ensure the sling remains in a safe, usable condition for continued use. Using bleached, torn, cut, frayed or broken slings is unsafe and may result in serious injury to the patient.

Similarly, hoists require pre-use checks to ensure they are deemed safe for use. Checking sling attachment points for signs of wear, framework for any obvious weaknesses such as hairline cracks, loose fittings, etc. If in any doubt, seek a second opinion or refrain from using the equipment until a competent person is able to assess the equipment and advise on its continued safety.

Make Sure No Obstacles Are in the Way

Ensure a clear space in the immediate environment to safely manoeuvre the patient and provide the caregiver plenty of room to handle the hoist. We design many of our hoists compactly to improve use in living rooms and other spaces where objects and furniture may limit space. Identify and assess slip and trip hazards along with any obstructions that could interfere with a lift and transfer to minimise risk and maximise safety.

Hoist Maintenance

In the UK, all patient lifting equipment should be inspected at 6 monthly intervals, as specified by the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER). At Joerns Healthcare, we provide service, maintenance and installation training, where engineers and non-authorised service providers alike, can learn how to inspect, service, repair, and maintain Oxford lifting equipment in tune with the latest LOLER standards.

Any equipment that fails to conform to the requirements of LOLER and are considered to be detrimental to the on-going health and safety of patients and caregivers, must be decommissioned pending full repair or replacement as required.

Contact Us Today

We hope you have found the above guidance on how to use a hoist helpful. If you have any further questions on using one of our Oxford lifts, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Visit our website for more information. Alternatively, call 0344 811 1158 to speak to a member of our helpful and friendly team.

If you have found this blog helpful, you may wish to read our previous blog: Patient Handling Solutions For Post-acute Care.

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