Equipment weight testing is an important part of keeping your patient handling equipment in compliance and safe for your service users within your Care Home, Special School, or Hospital. Within Medaco’s annual servicing and our equipment commissioning process, equipment weight testing comes as a part of our standard provision.

When working within the care sector, we often come across facilities that sometimes  fail to schedule routine equipment weight testing as a part of the service and maintenance of their patient lifting equipment.

Just as with any other patient handling equipment, it is important that your care facility follow the guidelines laid out by the equipment’s manufacturer to ensure your equipment is safe and fit for use.

What is Weight Testing for Patient Handling Equipment?

As with all patient handling equipment, the equipment whose main function is to lift and lower service users will come with a designated Safe Working Load, also known as the SWL. The SWL will be clarified by the manufacturer, and you can typically find this information within the equipment’s product specification, and it should also be clearly marked  onto the equipment itself. The designated Safe Working Load outlines the safe maximum weight the piece of kit can be safely used. The weight that is specified will be inclusive of the service user’s weight as well as the weight of any/all equipment accessories combined.

Equipment weight testing measures the equipment’s structural ability for load bearing  and helps to determine that it is safe to use and in line with the manufacturer’s recommendation.

Mobile Hoist and Service Engineer

Typically, a weight test will be conducted during an annual service, of when the competent person deems it necessary, or  when major works have been conducted on the equipment. The competent person will perform a non-destructive test onto the equipment by attaching a load o nto the equipment and proceeding to carry out its typical lifting and lowering functions. Testing the equipment under its full-load  capacity, allows for an engineer to best assess and listen out for any structural anomalies that may need addressing.

Guidance and Regulations Around Weight Testing

Although LOLER does not distinctly address regulation surrounding weight testing, Regulation 9, paragraph 301 outlines the requirement that the competent person inspecting the equipment should decide whether a [weight] test is necessary upon inspection.

LOLER Regulation

Furthermore, the weight testing guidelines are outlined by the equipment manufacturer themselves. Typically, a manufacturer will recommend weight testing to happen on an annual basis and after any major works are carried out on the equipment such as part replacement or installation.

Read our blog, What are the Risks of Your Care Equipment Falling Out of Compliance

For example, when the installation of a ceiling hoist system occurs, it is vital the equipment, tracking and fixings undergo a weight test during its commissioning to ensure all the components are safe and fit for use. In these instances, the weight applied may be in excess of the safe working load to properly “stress test” the fixings on the tracking system.

Service User Safety and Peace of Mind

There are many protocols your care facility can have within your risk assessment plan for your Care Home, Special School or Hospital to certify your patient handling equipment’s compliance and safe condition for use.

Ensuring your risk assessment includes weight testing for all patient lifting equipment is an essential part of having good practices in place.

Many organisations utilise chair scales to enable the administration of medication. It is important for the safety of your service user to ensure these pieces of lifting equipment are being weight tested with calibrated weights to properly test for functional accuracy.

Additionally, have a conversation with your patient handling equipment service and maintenance provider to check to see if weight testing is a part of the work they provide. Furthermore, it is important to have weight testing (when conducted) recorded on your equipment service report documentation.

Here at Medaco we use M1 tolerance calibrated weights for calibration checks on weighing equipment, and standard dead weights for weight testing carried out within our annual services, during commissioning, and after any major works are fulfilled.

Choosing to work with Medaco helps to ensure peace of mind, and equipment compliance for your patient lifting equipment. Get in touch with our team to book in your servicing and maintenance, we are happy to help.