Guidance on Moving and Handling Training during the Covid-19 Pandemic
Wednesday, 25th March 2020
The delivery of mandatory manual handling training in a care or special educational needs setting is generally considered a ‘practical skills’ course. At least two-thirds of the course content are practical skills being demonstrated, then practised and finally assessed and documented by the course leader.
In light of the recent Covid-19 virus pandemic, EDGE Services have had a number of our key trainers and clients ask if there are alternative ways of delivering such training, avoiding or, at the very least, limiting face-to-face contact and therefore reducing the risk of spreading the virus. Furthermore we understand that in some areas of the healthcare, social care and special needs education sectors, there is now an immediate need for you to get other staff and volunteers trained up quickly to help manage the growing need for replacement staff and additional staff as the virus progresses.
With this in mind we have put together some guidance on how our Key Trainers (staff who have successfully completed an EDGE Services’ four-day or two-day ‘key trainer’ courses within the last two years) can help to manage the onward delivery of moving and handling training – in full consultation with your organisation’s Head of Health and Safety (or equivalent job role) - during this difficult and uncertain time.
As EDGE Services trained Key Trainer you have full access to our on-line e-learning programme which you can make available to all your front-line staff colleagues. This covers all the theoretical training required for a ‘People/Children Handling Certificate’ with a course duration of up to 8 hours. By utilising this programme for your organisation, you will not have to deliver the theory of safer people handling face-to-face.The on-line e-learning programme should take staff approximately 30 minutes to complete.
You also have access to a hard copy (to be printed out) 25-page workbook that also covers all the theory as detailed already. Consequently, even if e-learning is not available within your organisation, the theory element of your ‘People/Children Certificate’ could be undertaken by front-line staff if they complete this workbook, again meaning that you won’t have to deliver this component of the course to front-line staff face-to-face. The workbook should take staff approximately 30 minutes to complete.
For more experienced staff that you have already taught the theory to before and feel quite confident that their theoretical knowledge base is sound, how about asking them to complete one of the quizzes, crosswords or word searches that are available to you via the EDGE Services Resources Library and are found in the Training Tools section? These are often considered a more interesting way to cover the theory content, do not take too long for experienced staff to complete but are still 'proof' that theory content has been covered in the way that our professional bodies advise.
You might consider not covering theory content at all in your training programmes. Whilst it is generally recommended that this is a component of people/children handling training sessions, in the current climate of the Covid-19 virus pandemic, the relatively low risk of omitting it as a temporary measure should be considered.
More challenging is how best to deliver the practical component of people handling skills to front-line staff. Alongside all the Government and NHS advice about access to work with presenting symptoms and effective and regular hand hygiene etc., EDGE Services would advise the following:
- Deliver the practical skills to smaller numbers of delegates. Reducing the number of people in the classroom reduces the risk of cross infection of the virus. EDGE Services generally advise a trainer-delegate ratio of no more than 1:10. Best advice would be to reduce this number to as low as is reasonably practicable in accordance to the current social distancing regulations and taking into account the environment in which you work.
- Utilise the 80-minute video of ‘Practical Skills’ from EDGE Services. This is available to all our Key Trainers and might well be useful for initial training, by way of a course introduction, to show delegates safer handling techniques and safe equipment usage, particularly if they are new to the care/education sector. This should enable a slight reduction in face-to-face training hours. It should be noted, however, that this video is designed as an aide memoir for EDGE trained Key Trainers in normal circumstances, however, it may be prudent in the current situation to share this resource with a wider audience.
- Utilise a video-conferencing system. If front-line staff have a particular handling technique or a particular piece of handling equipment that they need advice on perhaps the you could offer some support in this way to help reduce face-to-face training time.
- Offer one-to-one practical assessment. In order to be able to assess a colleague’s handling skills and to be able to record them as being ‘competent’ thus enabling them to do their work safely, you will, as the key trainer, need to observe them undertaking handling tasks, be able to give them feedback, and re-assess them if necessary. For some simpler handling tasks, it might be appropriate for these to be done with clients. As clients need to be moved anyway, this is merely enabling a training situation to happen at the same time. For more complex handling tasks that require equipment perhaps one-to-one assessment could happen in a care/classroom setting utilising a colleague as a client thereby limiting the numbers of staff coming into contact with each other.
- Utilising more experienced staff. In usual circumstances UK health and safety legislation sets out a requirement that all staff undertaking hazardous workplace activities (such as people/children handling tasks) should be appropriately trained and experienced. However, given the extreme circumstances in which the Covid-19 virus pandemic has placed on the care and special educational needs settings, it might be prudent to utilise your staff differently. By putting trained and more experienced staff with not yet trained or less/no experienced staff you will be reducing the risk to a lower level if staff training and staff supervision is proving difficult to undertake. It is imperative that the more experienced and appropriately trained staff member takes the lead in the handling task and that he/she is comfortable doing so. It should also be noted that this may not be an appropriate course of action for more complex handling tasks. It may only be necessary to demonstrate more complex tasks in this setting once or twice and then perhaps further demonstrations or practice could again happen in the work setting with the client that needs to be moved anyway thereby saving training time and limiting face-to-face time. However, as the Key Trainer remember to document these as 'training hours' in the same way as you would classroom time. This would be classed as work based training and has as much value as classroom based training.
This guidance is available to all EDGE-trained-key-trainers as an Info Sheet in our online Resources Library.
EDGE Services will be reviewing and updating this guidance on a regular basis – in accordance with advice from the Government – please keep in touch for further updates or contact us if you would like to discuss further by e-mailing: [email protected]