Safe patient handling and movement- A research-based guide for a better work environment

This guide is directed at workplaces within healthcare, ambulance care, dental care, and public and private care, including home nursing, domestic services and personal assistance.


The purpose of the guide is to describe how employers and employees can work together to ensure safe patient handling and movement. These measures can significantly help in preventing numerous occupational and healthcare-related injuries.

The guide initially addresses the background and important conditions for safe patient handling and movement followed by a practical work process consisting of five-steps. The five steps are based on and can be easily integrated into the systematic work environment management process (SAM in Swedish). An important part of the practical work involves risk assessments, and this guide provides specific knowledge about how risk assessments related to patient handling and movement can be carried out. Finally, guidance is given on measures at individual, group and/or organisational level and how managers, employees and safety representatives can jointly plan and choose measures based on the three perspectives of health promotion, prevention and rehabilitation. By including all these perspectives in the work, opportunities and conditions are created for safe patient handling and movement and a sustainable working life.

Creating sustainable, systematic work environment management is achieved by adopting a smarter, more focused, and structured approach to work. Actively implementing this guide in the workplace can result in the development of effective procedures and working methods for patient handling and movement, ensuring safety for both employees and care recipients in their daily activities.
Note that the guide is originally written for a Swedish context and based on Swedish work environment legislation. Readers should familiar themselves with relevant legislation and regulations pertaining to patient handling and movement in their own country to ensure compliance and best practices.

Read more about the guide.

English translation processed by

Charlotte Wåhlin, Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine Region Östergötland, Linköping and Linköping University, Glykeria Skamagki, The University of Birmingham.
Liv Nilsson, SAWEE.

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