Keys to selecting an equipment supplier

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) draft ergonomics guidelines for nursing homes notes that the selection of the equipment supplier is an important consideration in the procurement of control equipment. A good working relationship with your supplier, says OSHA, is critical because "it facilitates obtaining training for employees in how to use equipment, modifying the equipment for special circumstances, and procuring parts and service when needed." Here are some questions OSHA suggests you use to help select the supplier that best meets the needs of your facility:

  • Availability of technical service — Is over-the-phone assistance, as well as on-site assistance, for repairs and service of the lift available?
  • Availability of parts — Which parts will be in stock and available in a short time frame and how soon can they be shipped to your location?
  • Storage ability of the mechanical lift — Is it too big for your facility? Can it be stored in close proximity to the area(s) where it is used?
  • If needed, are a charging unit and backup battery included?
  • What is the simplicity of the charging unit and how much space will be required for a battery charger if one is needed?
  • If the lift has a self-contained charging unit, how much space will be necessary for charging and what electrical receptacles are required?
  • What is the minimum charging time of a battery?
  • How high is the base of the lift, and will it fit under the bed and various other pieces of furniture?
  • How wide is the base of the lift or is it adjustable to a wider and lockable position? How many people are required to operate the lift for lifting of a typical 200-pound person?
  • Does the lift-activation device (pendant) have remote capabilities?
  • How many sizes and types of slings are available?
  • What type of sling is available for optimum infection control?
  • Is the device versatile? Can it be a sit-to-stand lift, as well as a lift device? Can it be a sit-to-stand lift and an ambulation-assist device?
  • What is the speed and noise level of the device?
  • Will the lift go to floor level? How high will it go?

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Washington, DC.