All posture or safety belts fitted to supportive seating, wheelchairs, hoists and bathroom equipment - risk of serious injury or death

Risk of serious injury or death of the person using a posture or safety belt that isn't fitted or adjusted properly. (MDA/2015/018)

Action

  • Ensure that all posture/safety belts for supportive seating, wheelchairs, hoists and bathroom equipment are fitted, adjusted, used, cleaned, checked and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Ensure all users and carers are aware of the manufacturer’s instructions for use and have received training on how to check, adjust, clean, and maintain each device.
  • Before each use, ensure that the posture/safety belt is in a satisfactory condition, is the right type for the user, and is adjusted correctly.
  • Ensure that each review of an individual’s needs includes a check that the posture/safety belt is the right one for the user and carers.
  • Report all adverse events associated with the use of these devices to the manufacturer and MHRA.

Action by

Everyone involved in the provision, prescription, use and maintenance of the above equipment.

Deadlines for action

Actions underway: 6 May 2015, actions complete: 22 June 2015

These are deadlines to check if the equipment is still suitable, that it is still set up correctly for the user and that it has been properly maintained.

Device details

This alert also applies to belts referred to as pelvic, lap, seat or waist belts and also straps or harnesses.

Problem

MHRA continues to receive reports of injuries and fatalities because posture/safety belts on assistive technology devices that aren’t used, fitted or adjusted properly or they haven’t been maintained correctly.

Problems include the person in the seat slipping down and suffering positional asphyxiation or strangulation, or falling out of the seat and being injured.

For some people a belt alone cannot keep them in an appropriate sitting position and they may need other supports to stop them slipping down (eg tilt-in-space or supportive seating).

This notice replaces MDA/2008/037.

Distribution

If you are responsible for cascading these alerts in your organisation, these are our suggested distribution lists.

Trusts

CAS and SABS (NI) liaison officers for onward distribution to all relevant staff including:

  • community children’s nurses
  • community hospitals
  • equipment libraries and stores
  • fracture clinics
  • health and safety managers
  • hospital at home units
  • maintenance staff
  • occupational health departments
  • occupational therapists
  • patient transport managers
  • physiotherapists
  • rehabilitation engineers
  • risk managers
  • wheelchair service managers

Public Health England

Directors for onward distribution to:

  • heads of health, safety and quality
  • risk manager
  • safety officers

Social services

Liaison officers for onward distribution to all relevant staff including:

  • back care/manual handling advisors
  • care at home staff
  • care management team managers
  • children’s disability services
  • community care staff
  • day centres (older people, learning disabilities, mental health, physical disabilities, respite care, autistic services)
  • disability equipment stores
  • education departments for equipment held in schools
  • equipment stores
  • equipment supplies managers
  • in-house domiciliary care providers (personal care services in the home)
  • in-house residential care homes
  • loan store managers
  • loaned equipment store managers
  • occupational health departments
  • occupational therapists
  • schools with hoists
  • transport managers
  • wheelchair and seating service managers

Independent distribution

Establishments registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) (England only):

  • adult placement
  • care homes providing nursing care (adults)
  • care homes providing personal care (adults)
  • clinics
  • domiciliary care providers
  • further education colleges registered as care homes
  • hospices
  • hospitals in the independent sector
  • independent treatment centres
  • nursing agencies
  • private medical practitioners

Establishments registered with OFSTED:

  • children’s services
  • educational establishments with beds for children
  • residential special schools

Please note: CQC and OFSTED do not distribute these alerts. Independent healthcare providers and social care providers can sign up to receive MDAs directly from the Department of Health’s Central Alerting System (CAS) by sending an email to: safetyalerts@dh.gsi.gov.uk and requesting this facility.

Enquiries

England

Send enquiries about this notice to MHRA, quoting reference number MDA/2015/018 or 2015/004/007/222/001.

Technical aspects

Emma Rooke or Sara Vincent, MHRA
Telephone: 020 3080 6609 / 7169

Email: emma.rooke@mhra.gsi.gov.uk or sara.vincent@mhra.gsi.gov.uk

Clinical aspects

Dr Camilla Fleetcroft, MHRA
Telephone: 020 3080 6097

Email: camilla.fleetcroft@mhra.gsi.gov.uk

Reporting adverse incidents in England

Through the Yellow Card website.

Northern Ireland

Alerts in Northern Ireland are distributed via the NI SABS system.

Enquiries and adverse incident reports in Northern Ireland should be addressed to:

Northern Ireland Adverse Incident Centre
CMO Group
Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety
Telephone: 028 9052 3868
Fax: 028 9052 3900

Email: NIAIC@dhsspsni.gov.uk

Northern Ireland Adverse Incident Centre (NIAIC)

Reporting adverse incidents in Northern Ireland

Report directly to NIAIC using the forms on the website.

Scotland

Enquiries and adverse incident reports in Scotland should be addressed to:

Incident Reporting and Investigation Centre
Health Facilities Scotland
NHS National Services Scotland
Telephone: 0131 275 7575
Fax: 0131 314 0722

Email: nss.iric@nhs.net

Reporting adverse incidents in Scotland

NHS boards and local authorities in Scotland should report to Health Facilities Scotland.

Contractors such as private hospitals carrying out NHS work and private care homes that accept social work funded clients should report to Health Facilities Scotland.

Private facilities providing care to private clients should report to the Care Inspectorate and MHRA.

Wales

Enquiries in Wales should be addressed to:

Healthcare Quality Division
Welsh Government
Telephone: 1267 225 278 / 02920 825 510

Email: Haz-Aic@wales.gsi.gov.uk

Reporting adverse incidents in Wales

Report to MHRA through Yellow Card and follow specific advice for reporting in Wales in MDA/2004/054 (Wales).

Download documents

MDA/2015/018 - all posture or safety belts fitted to supportive seating, wheelchairs, hoists and bathroom equipment.

Help us improve GOV.UK

Don’t include personal or financial information like your National Insurance number or credit card details.