Almost every sort of job will, at some point, involve a task that will has an element of manual handling, whether that’s moving items around a warehouse or lifting boxes of paper in an office. For some people this might be a day-today occurrence, for others it might be something out of the blue, but it’s important to know how to correctly go about manual handling to avoid unnecessary injuries.
Unfortunately, injuries as a result of improper manual handling are more common than you’d think, and often result in time off for recovery which can impact both employer and employee, and in the worst cases can mean permanent injuries and even lawsuits. As a result, it’s very important that both employers and their employees understand what their responsibilities are when it comes to safe manual handling.
By carrying out a thorough risk assessment, followed by choosing the right solution and applying correct technique to manual handling, you can making lifting and carrying safer for any employee involved.
The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992, as amended in 2002, sets out specific points in order to make it clearly how to understand and deal with risk. The Regulations define manual handling as:
"...any transporting or supporting of a load (including the lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving thereof) by hand or bodily force".
This definition covers a large number of activities which will be encountered in some capacity in practically all workplaces, meaning every workplace should be aware of proper manual handling as a precaution. The Regulations also set out the basic three steps which are designed to reduce risk as much as possible:
Note: If tasks are performed regularly, then documented manual handling procedures are very useful indeed, and is mandated by law within some industries and applications. Detailing the specifics of the manual handling operation is crucial, covering the aspects of how you assessed and reduced any elements of risk. Considering and logging these details is an extremely helpful way of preventing injury and also sets a standard should there be a legal dispute.
Lifting objects incorrectly is the main cause of manual handling injuries in the workplace, and they very frequently occur as a result of poor lifting technique. Below are some steps that you can follow to make lifting objects safer for everyone:
For further information on making manual handling safer in the workplace, our Moving & Handling Objects and People may be helpful. Click here to find out more.