Safe Hoisting in and out of a Chair

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations (MHOR) 1992 define manual handling as “…any transporting or supporting of a load (including the lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving thereof) by hand or bodily force”.

Using the features of the chair, when suitable to do so, for safe movement of the client will enable such movements to become even more effective.

When assessing a client's needs for hoisting in and out of a chair we need to be aware of the ranking system described in MHOR:

  • Avoid hazardous manual handling operations as far as is reasonably practicable.
  • Assess any hazardous manual handling operations that cannot be avoided.
  • Reduce the risk of injury as far as it reasonably practicable.

When hoisting a client in and out of their chair we are unable to avoid the manual handling task. So, we need to appropriately assess the task and work towards reducing the risk of injury, whilst also achieving an outcome that is beneficial and helpful to our client and their carers.

To assess and ultimately devise a safe and effective manner to hoist our client in and out of a chair, consider using the TILEE method:

  • Task.
  • Individual.
  • Load.
  • Environment.
  • Equipment.

TILEE method for Hoisting


This covers the manual handling task you will be completing, so in our example, hoisting them in and out of their chair.


This means considering the person who will be carrying out the tasks i.e. yourself as the clinician, a carer or family member.


This requires us to consider the person being moved and any factors that may impact on the move. We should consider all physical, sensory, cognitive and behavioural factors. And not just the client’s limitations, but also the strengths they have in these areas.


This covers the room that the move is taking place in. Consider the size of the room, is there enough space around the chair with no hazards around, is there enough light, what is the floor surface like?


The last “E” is often forgotten when completing manual handling risk assessments, but when it comes to hoisting in and out of chair, is an essential element. It looks at what equipment is being used as part of the move, and more importantly, how is it being used.

When hoisting in and out of a chair, we need to ensure that the hoisting equipment is appropriate and being used correctly. We’re all used to considering what type of hoist is being used and we’re also experienced at making sure the sling is the correct type for use. But as equally important is what chair is being used and how can that assist to make the hoisting experience as effective and comfortable as possible.

If the chair has adjustable features on it, consider using these to make the hoisting experience better for your client and the carer. You’ll need to individually assess each situation, but things to consider would be putting the chair in a Tilt in Space or reclined position before the client is hoisted to achieve a good sitting position once in the chair. Or lowering or removing armrests if these are adjustable can make fitting and removing slings a lot easier.

As the clinician responsible for ensuring the hoisting is being completed appropriately in these situations it can be very easy to focus on the moving and handling equipment and ensuring this is being used correctly. But the chair your client uses can also play a very important role when being hoisted and should not be overlooked.