Nico Knibbe is an expert in musculoskeletal disorder with 33+ years experience working in the occupational health field. He has a Masters in Human Movement, published 100 articles, and worked with health organisations across Europe. He and his sister Hannika Knibbe established Locomotion in 1990. Nico recently spoke to Simone Hepburn, for the Manual Handling Collective.

Asked, “What keeps you so motivated?” Nico made two points: nurses continue to suffer from back-pain – with the average age of nurses increasing, while the mobility of patients is declining, due to obesity and age. “With the existing shortage of nurses, we can’t afford to lose more.”

At the same time there is also a positive development, because more people all over the globe are picking up the subject and tackling many different problems connected with the safe manual handling of people. These new ideas and approaches are very exciting and strongly motivating:

Nico has used the enforced isolation to index some of the free resources in his library. They are now freely available to you, with the links given in the podcast notes. Locomotion is committed to freely sharing knowledge and resources – a core value and practice they adopted from their beginning. “There is a fantastic opportunity to learn from people all around the world, to share knowledge and exchange ideas.”

Asked how Australian practitioners can learn more, Nico encourages everyone to use the many resources available online. By accessing what Locomotion offers for example, you can gain access to EU reports with studies that include its 24 member countries. One recent EU study highlighted the power of Social Partners: unions, vendors, industry partners as well as government health and education organisations.

The other good way to learn is ask people about a particular issue. E.g., Locomotion asked two questions of 30 people around the globe about how to save time while[safely] manually moving people.

  1. What do you think saves time? and
  2. Can you substantiate/demonstrate that?

            15 responded: a 50% response rate is extremely good! Just ask!

Yet another option is to create a web page where people can upload a brief video to demonstrate how they’ve solved a particular problem. A video is best to demonstrate a new technique or to show how to use a piece of equipment. It’s all intended to build a community of understanding and share knowledge, because that helps everyone.

The interview concludes with a suggestion for our focus over the next 5 years. Nico believes we need to learn from and communicate across all the silos of the different areas of care. This would include incontinence; skin care; eye care; nutrition; exercise… and you can probably think of more. And Simone added: “Our near peers in all the areas of health and wellness.”

Watch Nico’s interview here –

Access Nico’s library of free resources from the Netherlands here  –

Free website links & resources from the Netherlands-


This interview was made possible by Haines Medical Australia, leader in the supply of Air Assisted Transfer Mats, Slide Sheets, Slings and more who strive to manufacture safer and more efficient manual handling equipment.

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