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HSE reports that manual handling injuries affect more than one million people per year! Despite these figures, it’s surprisingly easy to overlook the dangers associated with manual handling tasks. Sometimes the risks are obvious, such as when you’re lifting a particularly heavy item. However, lighter items and simpler tasks can also present hidden dangers. For example, injuries can be sustained by simply carrying an item for a long time, or using repetitive movements.
The consequences of overlooking these hazards can be serious, so how should you prepare yourself and/or your employees for manual handling work? Take a look at our quick guide to find out:
What is manual handling?
It covers a range of tasks, such as lifting, lowering, carrying, pushing and pulling.
What are the costs of poor manual handling?
You might be surprised to learn that one third of all workplace injuries are as a result of manual handling. Manual handling injuries include MSDs, which affect the muscles, joints and tendons of the arms, legs, back and shoulders.
Injury isn’t the only implication to consider. Financial consequences for the employer can be significant including wages, overtime and civil liability.
What are the correct techniques to use?
Before lifting or moving an item, consider whether it’s possible to move it mechanically. A pallet truck, hand-powered hoist or conveyer, are all examples of handling aids you could use to make the task safer.
If the item does need to be moved manually, then here are some simple tips that will reduce the risk of injury:
- consider whether it’s possible to make the load smaller or lighter before lifting
- can the work area be modified to reduce carrying distances or twisting movements?
- make sure the person lifting avoids bending forward. Instead, they should squat and bend at the knees before slowly lifting the item
- objects should not be lifted above shoulder height
- items being carried or lifted should be held close to the body
- ensure the person doing the lifting has been trained to lift as safely as possible.
How can Manual Handling Training help?
If you’re an employer, then you have a legal requirement to provide your workforce with manual handling training. Training will ensure that workers understand the most common injuries, when they occur and how to prevent them. The training offered by The Hireman focuses on:
- Understanding lifting techniques
- How poor lifting techniques cause injury
- Understanding MSDs and how to prevent them
- Learning safe lifting techniques and when to use handling aids
If you would like to learn more about the courses we offer then click to view the Manual Handling Course Page