Is it okay to lift and carry a child who is being restrained from one location to another?
RISKS OF LIFTING AND CARRYING A CHILD DURING A PHYSICAL INTERVENTION
There are many issues to be considered as the risks are very significant, for example:
– violence injury to staff during a lift or carry
– musculoskeletal injury to staff during a lift or carry
– fall injury to child during a lift or carry
Under Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulation 1999 Regulation 3 the employer must make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to staff and the risks to others involved in the work. To fail to do so would be a breach of duties imposed under criminal law.
To ensure full compliance with all relevant legal issues, I suggest that there would be need for:
1) a manual handling risk assessment of the planned procedure by a competent person
2) a physical intervention / tactical assessment of the planned procedure by a competent person
3) a medical review of the planned procedure by a competent person
4) a medical assessment of the individual child in light of the planned procedure
5) training from a competent source for the planned procedure delivered to-
6) staff who have been assessed as ‘fit’ for the activity of lifting and carrying unstable, potentially volatile loads.
COMPETENCIES FOR ADVICE-GIVING
So, all you would need from the Behaviour Team who are suggesting this procedure would be all of the above documentation, including proof of competencies. I would want to see as a starter:
– trainer-level manual handling qualifications
– trainer-level physical intervention qualifications
Without evidence of those kinds of competencies, it is possible you might be taking un-qualified advice.
Once you have reviewed those risk assessments and proof of competencies to your satisfaction, you could conceivably then implement the advice to lift and carry the child, once the appropriate staff (who have been assessed as fit) are trained by someone competent to do so
REGULATIONS ON MANUAL HANDLING
(1) Each employer shall – (a) so far as is reasonably practicable, avoid the need for his employees to undertake any manual handling operations at work which involve a risk of their being injured.
(1) Each employer shall – (b) where it is not reasonably practicable to avoid the need for his employees to undertake any manual handling operations at work which involve a risk of their being injured –
(i) make a suitable and sufficient assessment of all such manual handling operations to be undertaken by them, having regard to the factors which are specified in column 1 of Schedule 1 to these Regulations and considering the questions which are specified in the corresponding entry in column 2 of that Schedule,
(ii) take appropriate steps to reduce the risk of injury to those employees arising out of their undertaking any such manual handling operations to the lowest level reasonably practicable, and
(iii) take appropriate steps to provide any of those employees who are undertaking any such manual handling operations with general indications and, where it is reasonably practicable to do so, precise information on –
(aa) the weight of each load, and
(bb) the heaviest side of any load whose centre of gravity is not positioned centrally.
Often staff report to us that children simply ‘flop’ or try to drop to the floor, often by making their body ‘go limp’ if they do not want to transit from one area to another. They may create a ‘dead weight’.
The average weight for a 4-to-5 year old boy is between 16.3kg and 18.4kg, standing somewhere between 102 and 108cm tall. (https://www.disabled-world.com/calculators-charts/height-weight-teens.php)
A struggling or resisting child under physical restraint is a very hazardous ‘load’. In the handling of this child, there may be complex risk brought about by various factors:
- long carrying distances
- strenuous pushing or pulling
- heavy or bulky
- difficult to grasp
- unstable or likely to move unpredictably
- variations in floor levels
The video above offers a clear narrative of why we do not recommend lifting or carrying a restrained child in anything except extraordinary circumstances which could not reasonably be forseen.