Every year, hundreds of patient handling slings in care homes across the UK are condemned after failing LOLER (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations) tests. Many slings are condemned despite being perfectly safe for use. The reason? Faded sling specification labels...
Problem: Faded sling specification labels
When service engineers carry out a LOLER inspection, they assess how safe a sling is to use. The engineers will look out for signs such as hazardous shear, loose stitching, and weakened material. In this blog post, there is one specific aspect of a LOLER test that I am going to focus on. To find out more about LOLER, visit the HSE website.
A vital part of a sling is the ability of the carer/operator to clearly see the safe working load so that they can ensure the sling is safe to use with the patient. When an engineer carries out a LOLER inspection, they must be able to clearly see the safe working load. If this is not visible, they use the serial number on the sling to contact the manufacturer who are then able to provide them with the safe working load of the sling. However, if a sling label is faded and neither the safe working load or serial number is visible, the sling is condemned and has to be discarded.
Most care homes will regularly wash their patient handling slings in a hot wash with chemicals, and, ink-printed labels just don't withstand the sustained washing. The label gradually fades to the point where its content is not visible. This results in the serial number and safe working load becoming unreadable and hence slings are being condemned and thrown away, despite otherwise being perfectly safe to use.
Slings being thrown away because of faded specification labels is a common occurrence in UK care homes. As the manufacturer of the Opera® range of slings listening to the increasing frustration amongst carers and care operators, we have done something about it...
Solution: Embroidered-label Opera® slings
As the manufacturer of the Opera® range of patient handling slings, we have developed a new sling range which solves the faded label problem. Rather than ink-printed, all specification labels on Opera® slings are now fully embroidered. Intricate stitching ensures the details on the label never washes out.
On top of this, the serial number of each Opera® sling is laser-etched onto the label (pictured above), so that if the stitching ever becomes damaged, the details of the sling could be recovered using the serial number.