Minnesota Hospital Association

Quality & Patient Safety

Safe Patient Handling

Patients who are hospitalized are sometimes also immobile or have difficulty moving on their own. Hospital staff frequently assist patients to the restroom, turn them in bed to prevent bedsores, boost them in bed, or otherwise assist them in moving. All of this heavy lifting can lead to injuries and musculoskeletal disorders for staff. Improper handling of patients can cost billions of dollars annually in workers’ compensation costs, medical bills and the cost to replace staff who are no longer able to work. Improper patient handling also puts patients at risk of injury and/or falls.


Minnesota is one of only a handful of states to require hospitals to have policies to minimize manual lifting of patients. To assist hospitals in developing safe patient handling policies and procedures, in 2012 MHA initiated the Call to Action framework around safe patient handling. SAFE LIFT provides hospitals with resources of best clinical practices to prevent injuries to staff and patients.

call to action logoDownload the Road Map to a Comprehensive Safe Patient Handling Program and a road map gap analysis tool.

SAFE Lift tool kit

The tool kit provides best practices that hospitals can use to implement the road map recommendations in their facilities. Hospitals can copy, translate, distribute and present the following SAFE LIFT tool kit items as long as you reference the Minnesota Hospital Association as the source of this material. If the tool is hospital-specific, please also cite the hospital as a source.

Safe patient handling program coordination tools

Accurate and concurrent reporting tools

Facility expectations, staff education and accountability tools

Education tools for families and patients

Lift equipment and processes tools

Implementation tools

Fine tuning tools

Troubleshooting tools