Manual Handling relates to the moving of items either by lifting, lowering, carrying, pushing or pulling.
This can include menial tasks along the lines of carrying some books from one location to another, lifting building materials or a large box, or pushing an item along the floor.
Manual Handling covers tasks that for many are essential within the workplace.
Unfortunately, Manual Handling is one of the most common causes of injury at work and causes over a third of all workplace injuries (HSE).
These can include back injuries, Musculoskeletal Disorders such as chronic pain.
These injuries can occur almost anywhere, to almost anyone, whether they are simply a builder or an office worker.
Injuries like this have serious implications for both the employer and the person who has been injured.
It can cause extended periods of being unable to work, loss of jobs and costs to the employer who then has to hire and re-train someone brought in to replace the injured person.
There are several ways that you can ensure, as an employee or an employer, that manual handling injuries are avoided as much as possible.
Ensuring that you use the correct technique to picking up items is a proven method, as it will severely reduce the risk of straining your back.
Another way to avoid causing a Manual Handling injury is to think about the task that is required to be completed.
As an employer, you should be thinking:
"Is the employee able to perform a manual handling task safely?"
"Is the load very heavy?"
"Should lift assisting equipment such as a fork-lift truck or a pallet make it an easier and safer task to perform?"
As an employee, questions like:
"Am I able to perform a manual handling task comfortably without assistance?".
It is important for you to ask yourself if the task given is suitable, and if not, then inform the relevant supervisor.
Try and suggest alternatives to make the job easier for you E.g. use of certain equipment to help with the task, or assistance from another worker.
Simply lifting boxes and other items the correct way, and asking yourself if you are capable of performing the manual handling task safely can drastically reduce the risk of injury, time-off and costs for both employers and employees.
Stay Working, Stay Fit and Healthy, and Stay Safe!