SafeCare BC’s Safe Resident Handling Policy Template

March 7, 2016 | News

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As a part of SafeCare BC’s continuing commitment to preventing workplace injuries within the continuing care sector, we are pleased to announce the release of a new Safe Resident Handling Policy template for continuing care providers across the province.

According to recent WorkSafeBC statistics, Musculoskeletal injuries (MSI) related to resident handling are the number one cause of staff injuries in B.C.’s long-term care sector.

Sector employers and front line care providers are invited to use the Safe Resident Handling template as a guide to supplement their existing policies or help establish new ones where none currently exists. The policy template was reviewed and developed by SafeCare BC’s expert Technical Advisory Committee that includes representation from Health Care Employers, Health Care Unions, and WorkSafeBC.

Back and other strains in the workplace accounted for approximately 75 per cent of the long term care sector’s injury claims in 2014. The total claims cost to employers and the seniors care system over the past five years is estimated at $85 million.


The SRH Policy provides procedures and responsibility for implementation and maintenance of a multi-faceted program. The SRH program integrates evidence-based practices and technology in order to minimize both human and capital expenses associated with staff injuries caused by resident handling and movement. In particular, the purpose of the SRH Policy is to reduce and eliminate injuries to staff and caregivers during resident transfer activities.

The template was developed and approved by SafeCare BC’s Technical Advisory Committee, which is comprised of Union, WorkSafeBC and Employer Representatives

It was built upon existing policies and best practices from:

The SRH Policy compliments other Safe Resident Handling tools available on the SafeCare BC website.


SafeCare BC’s new policy template recognizes Safe Resident Handling as an ergonomic approach that emphasizes engineering and administrative controls in resident handling activates.

Roles and Responsibilities

The policy template provides a summary of the various roles and responsibilities of the various members of the continuing care team:

  • Employers & Senior Leadership Team;
  • Supervisors and Managers;
  • Staff;
  • Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committees.
Standards and Procedures

The policy template identifies a series of standards and procedures based on best practices to guide the implementation of safe resident handling policies. These include:

  • Promoting a No Manual Lifting Approach (except in the case of clinical contraindications);
  • Include all levels of staff in the development of safe resident handling policies and programs;
  • Provide policies and access to equipment and educational tools to empower staff to identify resident handling situations that pose a risk of MIS injuries (or others);
  • Promote a culture of safety and continuous improvement.
Training and Education

The policy template suggests training and education to ensure that managers, supervisors, and staff are sufficiently informed about the hazards to which they are exposed. Suggested training programs will cover:

  • Risk factors that contribute to back injury;
  • Early symptoms and prevention of musculoskeletal injuries;
  • Instruction and supervised practice;
  • Written policy on lifting; and
  • Transfer assistance levels and location of the Master Transfer List.

Click here to download the full Safe Resident Handling Policy template.