Ergonomic assessment of patient transfer and handling: a review.

Nur Shuhaidatul Sarmiza Abdul Halim1, Zaidi Mohd Ripin1, Mohamad Ikhwan Zaini Ridzwan1

Neurorehabilitation Engineering and Assistance Systems Research (NEAR), School of Mechanical Engineering, Engineering Campus, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 14300 Nibong Tebal, Penang, Malaysia1 1

Page 14 – 31   |   Vol. 8 No. 2 2023   |    Available online on 30 Dec 2023


This review investigates the effectiveness of assistive devices in mitigating work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) among nurses during patient transfer tasks. It encompasses lateral transfer and repositioning devices such as air-assisted devices, friction-reducing sheets, and sliding boards, as well as vertical lifting tools like ceiling lifts and floor lifts. A comprehensive search of PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, and Google Scholar databases identified relevant studies, and both quantitative and descriptive analyses were conducted on the collected data. The findings indicate that air-assisted devices and ceiling lifts exhibit superior effectiveness in reducing the physical stress associated with patient transfers. Air-assisted devices reduced required hand forces by 51.6%, spinal loadings by 31.5%, and muscle activities by 38.7%. Ceiling lifts significantly decreased required hand forces by 76.5%, spinal loadings by 81.6%, and muscle activities by 45.7%. In conclusion, this review underscores the effectiveness of air-assisted devices and ceiling lifts as valuable engineering controls for diminishing the risk of WMSDs among nurses during patient transfer tasks.


assistive devices; patient transfer; nurses; musculoskeletal diseases; lateral transfer; lifting; ergonomics assessment

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Human Factors & Ergonomics Journal (HFEJ), eISSN: 2590-3705  is the official Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Malaysia.  The journal is published on a biannual basis. HFEJ aims to address current research in the field of Ergonomics in addition to the broad coverage of cognitive ergonomics, user experience, physical ergonomics and others such as transportation, industrial design and industrial engineering. HFEJ is a member of, and subscribes to the principles of the COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics), as such we only accept original work.