Safe Handling

According to WorkSafeBC statistics, musculoskeletal injuries are the number one cause of staff injuries in BC’s continuing care sector. The economic cost of these injuries is easy to measure. It’s estimated that the cost of claims alone over the past five years is more than $85 million. The human and social cost is equally staggering. Constant pain. An inability to perform routine tasks. Time off work can lead to depression. Unable to return to a job you loved. Forced to retrain for another career.

SafeCare BC has your back, and our goal is to provide you with resources, including an online 5-Step Toolkit that will help make it easy to prevent these types of injuries.

Safe handling videos

Safe handling toolkit in five (5) steps

Creating a Safe Handling program begins with a conversation to better understand your organization’s overall safety culture. The culture of an organization plays a key part in any initiative. If you are looking to improve workplace health and safety at your organization, it’s very important to understand the state of your current workplace culture.

The Institute for Work & Health has a tool that will help you obtain a benchmark of your organization’s workplace safety culture. You can then use this survey to monitor perceived changes in your workplace’s safety culture as you implement changes. Make sure to capture a wide cross-section of staff when you survey for a more accurate picture.

Organizational performance metric questionnaire ›

Once you have determined your organization’s safety culture and risk of injury, you will want to gain the support of your leadership team.

Visible leadership support is a very important step when implementing your program. It demonstrates that the organization values safe handling. Demonstrating leadership support can be done by providing resources and communicating the importance of safe handling.

Watch this short video to learn more about how a care operator in Yarmouth committed to implementing a safe handling program and ended up with a significant culture shift in the organization’s overall occupational health and safety program.

Now that you’ve assessed the safety culture of your organization performed a risk assessment, and obtained the support of your leadership team, you’re ready to develop and implement a Safe Handling Policy. And the reasons why are obvious.

Studies have clearly demonstrated that injury rates among care workers can be significantly reduced by increasing the use of mechanical lifts and restricting manual client handling by care workers.

Developing a Safe Handling policy

The successful implementation of a safe handling policy requires a varied approach that is unique to each organization. However, there are some key principles that should be incorporated into any approach to ensure its effectiveness, including accessible and adequate handling equipment and a maintenance system for equipment. As such, this toolkit step encourages you to review your equipment to ensure that it meets the necessary requirements.

Resources to help you get started:

These resources were developed by SafeCare BC’s Technical Advisory Committee, which is comprised of union, WorkSafeBC, and employer representatives.

What’s Wrong with this Picture?

Print off these staged images, and have some fun with your team trying to identify the hazards.


Training is an important step in your Safe Handling Program, as it provides frontline workers with the skills and information to help them perform their tasks more safely.

  • Train-the-Trainer Program
  • Safe Handling course
  • WorkSafeBC Training Resources
  • Point of Care Risk Assessments

Safe Handling Train-the-Trainer program

Like you, SafeCare BC is committed to helping reduce injury rates. SafeCare BC’s Safe Handling Train-the-Trainer workshop will give participants a comprehensive overview of the leading safe handling practices and techniques. In this two-day session, peer coaches will also learn coaching principles, giving them the tools and knowledge to successfully teach others about safe handling and musculoskeletal injury prevention. For more information on this program, please contact

Safe Handling course

SafeCare BC’s Safe Handling course was specifically designed for continuing care workers and will provide participants with the leading practices to prevent injuries from overexertion while providing care. Those who would benefit most from the Safe Handling program are:

  • Care providers who provide direct care
  • Supervisors who work with those providing direct care and who would like to understand what safe work practices look like
  • Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee members who want to learn more about current and leading practices in safe handling.

Register for the Safe Handling course today if you want to stay safe at work and prevent common injuries! Please note: You must complete the self-paced online modules before your instructor-led session.

Request a Workshop ›

Training resources

WorkSafeBC has a collection of resources you can use as part of your in-house training program.

Point-of-care risk assessments

Point-of-care risk assessments are a key part of safe handling practices at the bedside. By doing this, the care provider can ensure that the resident or client’s ability matches the care plan.

For more information on the assessment, check out this short, interactive e-module developed by Interior Health and Northern Health that will help guide you on using the point-of-care risk assessment tool.

Once you have created your safe handling program, evaluating the program is essential.

You can use the Safe Handling Program Checklist to verify the components of a safe handling program, including development, management and staff involvement, needs assessments, equipment, education and training, and evaluation. This will help you identify what aspects are working well and which may need more attention. The checklist should be completed regularly to ensure ongoing program quality improvement.

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