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Assisting a person into a vehicle - SWI 017 2013


This information is a guide only for use by non-government organisations and service providers as a training tool (supplementary to training) and is not intended as medical or professional advice. Users must seek appropriate medical or professional service. The State Government of South Australia accepts no responsibility for the suitability or completeness of the information and expressly disclaims all liability for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any of the information.

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Stop, Think, Assess, Review

Stop before you begin, you must review the support plan of the client being assisted.

Think about the task, any equipment needed and the readiness of the client. Think about other options if this task cannot be done safely.

Assess the client by watching/talking to them to see if they are willing and able to participate in the task.

Review other options available if client not ready for task. Talk to supervisor/manager about other options.

Potential hazards

  1. Client injury from falling, due to: unsteady gait or sudden movement.
  2. Muscular, soft-tissue or skeletal injury to workers due to being pulled by falling client.
  3. Client injury from incorrect sitting or restraint in vehicle.

Safety provisions

To prevent risk of injury to workers or clients during this manual task:

a. Follow all steps of this Safe Work Instruction.
b. Ensure area around vehicle is free of tripping hazards.
c. Ensure there is enough space around vehicle to open its door wide and for workers and client to manoeuvre.
d. Where possible, clients who require assistance should be seated on the left-hand side of the vehicle.
e. Communicate with client and other workers at every step of this task.


Set up

  1. Ensure vehicle is parked on level ground, with enough room to open doors fully.
  2. This instruction only describes how to assist an ambulant client into a vehicle.
  3. This instruction does not apply to a client remaining in a wheelchair to travel.
  4. Refer to client's support plan for specific information.


  1. Position client beside vehicle.
  • Walk with client to vehicle.
  • If client requires assistance to walk, assist them as outlined in the SWI Assisting a Person to Walk.
  • Unlock vehicle and open door.
  • Position client beside open door of vehicle as in diagram.
1. Position client beside vehicle.

  1. Assist client to sit back into vehicle.
  • Worker to place client's left palm into their hand, with worker's thumb through for client to grip (thumb-hand grip).
  • Ask client to use their other hand to grip inner handle of vehicle door for support.
  • Worker to place their free hand at base of client's neck.
  • Explain all steps to client as proceeding.
  • Ask client to lean forward, bending their knees (see diagram).
  • Worker to ensure client does not bump their head on vehicle roof as they sit down.
  • Once client safely seated, release hand grip.
2. Assist client to sit back into vehicle.
2. Assist client to sit back into vehicle - part 2.

  1. Lift client's legs into vehicle.
  • Worker to position themselves in front of seated client.
  • Using a bended knee stance, place both hands on client's leg nearest door, then lift leg slowly up into vehicle, placing foot firmly on floor.
  • Do not grasp leg with fingers, rather use open palm pressure.
  • Worker to repeat process with other leg.
  • Ensure client has turned their torso to face forward with legs.
3. Lift client's legs into vehicle.

  1. Apply seatbelt around client.
  • Worker to ensure client is comfortably seated in vehicle seat, with legs and torso all facing forward for travel.
  • Worker to secure lap-sash seatbelt around client (or allow client to do if capable).
  • Close door of vehicle.
4. Apply seatbelt around client.


  1. Safely conclude task.
  • Make sure client is comfortable and secure.
  • Document any incident and report to supervisor immediately.
  • Worker to get into vehicle, ready for transportation.

Attribution: Department of Human Services, the Government of South Australia, "Assisting a person into a vehicle - SWI 017 2013", Sourced on 24th Jan 2022, ('

Page last updated : 12 Aug 2021

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