Push that floor hoist! Pull that trolley! How much force is too much?

HLS Healthcare ergometer Kat Ergometer How Much is Too Much blog

In healthcare we are constantly assessing ourselves. We ask ourselves questions about what we do and how we do it. Is it best practice? Are we getting the results we need? Is our method working, or is there a better way? Is there a safer way?

We should always be asking ourselves these questions. Otherwise the way we perform essential everyday tasks in the healthcare environment will never improve. We need to ask these questions to find a better way.

To help us answer these questions, we have introduced a new safety oriented assessment device called the ‘ergometer’. The ergometer measures the push and pull strain we experience as ‘force feedback pressure’ directly applied to our joints and muscles, namely by the task required to use everyday equipment in the healthcare sector. To measure this force, the ergometer is attached to a floor hoist, a bed, a trolley or even a wheelchair. The forces and strains required to push, maneouvre and pull the equipment are then recorded and assessed. The ergometer becomes a tool to help identify potential push-pull hazards or risks in the workplace.

The ergometer is designed primarily to highlight the unfortunate reality that traditional floor hoists – or any object manually pushed or pulled – contributes to workplace injuries when high forces are involved. If we do not ask the question, and measure what is actually going on, how would we ever know? Therefore, the introduction of the ergometer is all about education and awareness. HLS Healthcare is committed to creating better ways to care, and education and awareness are very important parts of that philosophy.

Recently I used an ergometer to demonstrate these important factors to an aged care home. I wanted to show the facility managers how much effort their staff were being expected to exert when using the required equipment. As we know, our bodies can only endure so much strain before injury is the result. The ergometer allows us to see if we are working in a healthy or potentially dangerous zone of exertion. it is a reasonable assertion to make, that the most at-risk piece of medical equipment residential aged care facilities use multiple times every day is a floor hoist. So, over a three hour period we applied the ergometer to equipment used at this facility. The results were disturbing to say the least. Even with my clinical background and experience, I was shocked to see how much effort was required to move a non-powered floor hoist. No matter how much the floor hoist has improved our working life, it still requires drastic and potentially damaging effort to manoeuvre, depending on its working load and any environment obstacles.

So what was the result? The ergometer tells a compelling story when placed on a powered vs non powered equipment. The effort required to maneouvre a loaded floor hoist manually can simply be far too much for a care individual to be expected to endure. It is in the reports we generate in black and white. It begs the questions – why would we use non-powered equipment if a powered option provides a clear and safer answer to those questions – is there a better practice, and is there a safer way?

There is, and it is called the esense – a touch-activated powered floor hoist. The esense is designed to take floor hoists “from heavy to healthy”.

You can read about it in one of our previous blogs “esense makes sense when it comes to reducing push-pull stress


Power Assist for minimal push pull stress facebook 400x210 Push that floor hoist! Pull that trolley! How much force is too much?


If your organisation would like us to arrange a ergometer audit so we can provide you with comparative data on your own work practices for manual floor hoists, please contact HLS – we have representatives in most states who can help. Where the ergometer is available, we can provide you with a report detailing the push-pull forces based on your staff’s experience. You have the opportunity to strengthen your position in proactive manual handling with evidence based data.

In response to the initial interest in the ergometer and powered floor hoists, HLS Healthcare is providing free ergometer assessments for a limited time, so please ask one of our representatives to book in an audit session.

Blog by Katrina Marshall


Give us a call today to discuss how this smart technology can improve not only your safety, but also compliance to best practice standards.

HLS Healthcare Head Office – 1300 931 893

For more information please contact: sales@hlshealthcare.com.au