Health services

Practical support to reduce the amount of injuries happening to health care workers when they move, handle and lift people as part of their job.

Healthcare workers are those people that care for others and provide health services. This includes people working in District Health Boards (DHBs), residential care facilities, private facilities or in other people’s homes. They face a wide range of hazards on the job – such as patient handling, manual handling, falls, biological hazards, working with chemicals, stress and violence.

The majority of injuries that health sector carers experience are a result of patient handling. Most of these injuries are serious and require long periods away from work. As an example, a third of all claims from residential care workers result in more than 60 days off work. This is an environment where carers are moving people over extended periods of time.

Guide to supporting people to move at home

With the help of the Home Community Health Association and Carers NZ, we’ve taken information from the ‘Moving and Handling People: The New Zealand Guidelines 2012’ and put together a smaller, practical guide for health care workers on moving and handling people safely at home.

You can download the ACC7116 Supporting people to move at home (PDF 6M) or order a printed version from our publications page (just search for ‘ACC7116’).

Moving and Handling People: The New Zealand Guidelines 2012

The ‘Moving and Handling of People: The New Zealand Guidelines 2012’ (previously known as the New Zealand Patient Handling Guidelines) are based on evidence and informed practice for moving and handling people in New Zealand, consistent with international standards.

The guide has over 400 pages with 1,000 photographs illustrating typical handling techniques that can be used across the health sector, as well as a:

  • literature review on Patient Handling Guidelines
  • review of the 2003 Patient Handling Guidelines and recommendations from users
  • survey of users of the New Zealand Patient Handling Guidelines
  • cost-benefit analysis of Moving and Handling Programmes
  • taxonomy of injuries in the New Zealand Residential Care sector.

To find out about the guidelines in more detail, and to download sections, go to Moving and Handling People: The New Zealand Guidelines 2012.

We also have available a limited number of hard copies of the complete guidelines. You’ll need to order your copy from our health industry section of our publications section.

Moving and handling people videos

You can watch or download a series of videos showing how to move and handle people – they give you ways you can put the guidelines into practice.

Training and course development

The NZQA Standards for Moving and Handling of People reflect these guidelines. We anticipate that private providers around New Zealand will provide training using the guidelines – we’ve provided the guidelines, but aren’t involved in the training.

We are also negotiating an internationally recognised certificate or diploma course on the Moving and Handling of People– these discussions are currently being held with The University of Queensland (external link), Loughborough University (external link) and the Auckland University of Technology (external link). These courses may also offer research opportunities.

We will provide assistance to develop these courses for the health care sector, but the universities will be offering the courses independently of us.

Updated: 9 March 2016
Reviewed: 3 February 2014