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Use of a portable hoist to lift a person from the floor - SWI 016 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 pinching skin with sling or from fall from hoist, or hoist malfunction.
  2. Muscular, soft-tissue or skeletal injury to worker from incorrect movement or posture.
  3. Client or worker injury due to various client behaviours or unexpected forces.

Safety provisions

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

a. Follow all steps of this Safe Work Instruction (SWI).
b. Check client for signs of injury. If injured, seek medical assistance and apply first aid. If client injured, do not attempt to move them with the hoist.
c. Use a minimum of 2 workers for the task.
d. Check there is enough space to move portable hoist at every step of task, remove any tripping hazards.
e. Always move in same direction as hoist when walking it, do not twist.
f. Only use client's sling, making sure it is clean and is the correct sling for the task.
g. Communicate with client and other workers at every step of this task.


Set up

  1. Check the battery for the hoist is charged and in good condition. If any faults, report immediately and do not use.
  2. Check the hoist (hooks, wheels) and sling for signs of wear or damage. If any faults, report immediately and do not use.
  3. Make sure you know how to operate all controls of the specific hoist. If unsure, review Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for this Hoist. Report immediately if SOP not available.
  4. Refer to client's support plan for specific information.

Battery pack for hoist


  1. Prepare hoist and sling.
  • Take battery out of charger and insert into portable hoist.
  • Get client's sling, making sure it is the correct one for the task.

  1. Assist client to roll on to their side and set the sling in place.
  • One worker on each side of client in a half kneel or full kneel position on floor.
  • Prepare client's arm and leg ready for roll (refer to SWI for Rolling and Repositioning)
  • Workers position hands, using co-ordinated pushing/pulling motion to gently roll client onto their side.
2. Assist client to roll to side and set the sling in place

  1. Place sling centrally beneath client.
  • When client is on their side, place sling along their back, make sure pelvic opening is level with middle of buttocks. (applies to full body sling only)
  • Assist client to roll to opposite side, then release and spread out sling into position.
3. Place sling centrally beneath client

  1. Prepare sling for attachment to portable hoist.
  • Pass leg straps underneath thighs and cross to opposite side.
4. Prepare sling for attachment to portable hoist

  1. Position the hoist.
  • Walk hoist slowly over to client, using forward steps.
  • Make sure area is clear of hazards.
  • One worker to protect client's head from contact with hoist.
  • When hoist in position, apply brakes.
5. Position the hoist

  1. Lower the spreader bar and attach the sling.
  • Worker pushing hoist now lowers spreader bar using hoist controls.
  • Second worker guides spreader bar into position, keeping parts away from client's head.
  • Attach one loop from each strap to hooks on the spreader bar. (Refer to client's support plan for correct loops to use.)
6. Close-up of the portable hoist sling - lower the spreader bar and attach the sling

  1. Raise client with portable hoist and sling.
  • First worker raises sling using hoist controls, watching that sling loops are in place.
  • Second worker watches and reassures client, assisting as required.
  • If client looks uncomfortable or unbalanced, lower sling and reposition.
7. Raise client with portable hoist and sling

  1. Move client with portable hoist.
  • When client is clear of floor, make sure the area is free of hazards and move hoist as needed.
  • Second worker assists to guide client as needed.
  • If required use handles on portable hoist to slowly push to new location, move with direction of hoist, do not twist.
8. Move client with portable hoist

  1. Position client over chair, wheelchair or bed.
  • Operator brings hoist into position.
  • Second worker supports then pivots client in sling, so they are ready to be lowered into the chair/wheel chair/bed.
  • Workers to do task in a controlled and careful manner.
9. Position client over chair, wheelchair or bed

  1. Lower client with portable hoist.
  • Second worker gets into position to side or behind client.
  • If using a wheelchair, make sure brakes are on, and footplates are removed if required.
  • Worker operating hoist uses hoist controls to lower client.
  • Both workers guide sling so that client is positioned to back of chair, making sure not to take any weight.
10. Lower client with portable hoist

  1. Release sling loops and remove hoist.
  • Unhook sling only when it is low enough to be loose and relaxed; keep control of spreader bar to avoid hitting client.
  • Make sure client is safe before removing equipment.
11. Release sling loops and remove hoist


  1. Safely conclude task.
  • Make sure client is comfortable.
  • Put hoist away, place battery back in charger.
  • Place all other equipment in correct storage areas.
  • Document any incident and report to supervisor immediately.

Attribution: Department of Human Services, the Government of South Australia, "Use of a portable hoist to lift a person from the floor - SWI 016 2013", Sourced on 23rd Oct 2021, ('

Page last updated : 12 Aug 2021

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