Reply To: Sling replacement indicators

Angela Greetham

We do not load test the patient slings. We perform a complete visual check of all stitching, loops and condition once a year. When the slings are new they come with safety labels but as the slings are laundered the labels fade and within 3-5 yeas they become unreadable, it neither is neither safe nor permitted to use a sling if the safety label has faded to the point of being unreadable.
Slings only need to be replaced when they are not fit for purpose. NZS 3551: 2012
(Management programs for medical equipment) and NZS 10535: 2011 (Hoist,
requirements and test methods) provide for lifting equipment and slings to be
inspected and visually tested on a regular basis (i.e. yearly) by a trained and
competent person, and if the equipment or sling is certified to be in safe condition
then it can continue to be used until the next inspection.

A proposed solution is to remove the old faded labels and fit more durable labels to the slings that are still in good condition. The new labels would be compliant with the relevant Standards and they would neither fade nor become unreadable for the life of the sling.
The labels would comply with the relevant Standards and slings only replaced when annual testing identifies them as no longer fit for use. It is likely that most slings would last 6 to 10 + years and this would generate an amortized saving of
$15-25.000 per year.
The new labels are purpose designed for our DHB: they are consistent in colour and condition and contain clear and concise text. This ensures that staff using the slings can immediately and easily identify the sling they are using for what purpose. The new labels also have a test date for the next ten years so staff can identify when the sling is due for testing.
There is no mandated requirement in any standard that records the slings should be replaced just because the safety label has faded. Hope this helps,