Manual Handling Safety Basics

Manual handling can be fraught with hazards that lead to minor or severe injury without the proper guidance. Educating your staff on correct manual handling procedures can protect your team from many potential accidents and injuries. 

Avoiding accidents in the workplace is a constant goal of employees and employers alike. Manual handling is an integral part of almost every job, and everyone is usually required to lift and carry heavy loads at some point. However, manual handling can be fraught with hazards that lead to minor or severe injury without the proper guidance. Unfortunately, while not every accident can be avoided, educating your staff on correct manual handling procedures can protect your team from many potential accidents and injuries.

worker manual handling stacking boxesWhat is Manual Handling?

Manual handling can be summarised as transporting or supporting a load by hand or bodily force. This statement can cover a broad range of daily work activities such as lifting and carrying, pushing and pulling and with or without various mobile assistance such as dolly trucks and palette trucks.

Manual handling guidance is widely embraced as a valuable method of working in many industries, and it is also a legal requirement that businesses must follow. The law that covers this is the manual handling operations regulations 1992. The guidance associated with this regulation covers all the facets of manual handling and how to implement it effectively within your business.

Potential Risks

During our many years of experience as health and safety consultants in Kent, we have seen first-hand how vital correct manual handling techniques are. Unfortunately, one in three accidents at work can be connected to improperly applied manual handling, with many of these problems causing long term back difficulties for the person in question. Every year 300,000 people across the UK will suffer from back pain due to these accidents. Whilst simple back pain doesn’t sound too bad, ignoring health and safety training could make the injury more serious, spreading potential pain across your spine and neck and developing into a more significant problem so is safe to look at competent person services.

construction worker in pain Employers Responsibilities

All employers must do everything they can to protect their workers from hazardous manual handling that could lead to injury. By following this legal requirement, you are not only protecting your employees from harm, but it has the byproduct of assisting you in maintaining a happy and efficient workforce that can conduct their work confidently.

Each employer should fulfil specific criteria to reduce the risk of manual handling accidents significantly. The goal is to reduce the risk of injury from your specific manual handling requirements to the lowest level reasonably practical.

Carrying out risk assessment reviews of your working practices is a great way to find those problem areas and improve them. You should also assess your premises’ layout and your teams’ capabilities to create a full image of the situation. Another essential step is to provide practical training on proper manual handling and retain accurate reports on any incidents that may occur.

How to Approach Different Activities?

As experts in providing health and safety advice for small businesses, we have advised many different companies on the best way to adapt the concepts of manual handling to suit the specific situations their work demands. However, to enjoy the benefits of great manual handling techniques, we believe there are seven principles you should follow.

Checking what you want to lift is a step that’s easily ignored but is exceptionally effective in preventing any workplace injuries. You should always take the time to check the weight of what you want to move to see if you can handle it comfortably. If it’s too heavy, asking a colleague for assistance is a straightforward solution.

Maintaining good posture is essential for preventing any stress injuries to your back. This is an example of how manual handling guidance must be contextually tailored to suit the situation. For example, you will need to check the placement of your feet, making sure you are on sure footing before attempting to lift. Additionally, it would help if you didn’t twist as you lift. Alternatively, if you are moving a heavy palette truck, feet placement is important but making sure to pull with your arms instead of your back is just as valuable.

Handling Aids should always be considered during manual handling. Dolly wheels, palette trucks and sack trolleys are all fantastic tools to take the weight of any manual handling operations and should be used as much as possible to help protect your employees. Handling aids are also great at improving carrying and lifting speed and productivity within a workplace. Some in-house procedures will already require the use of a handling aid, so ensuring your staff has the correct training in using these aids will improve your business’s efficiency.

accident at work warehouseWhere is Manual Handling Guidance Essential?

Warehouses are critical environments that need the most manual handling, but they are not the only places. Factory, construction, delivery drivers, farmhands and hospital workers are just some examples of the broad scope of industries that need practical manual handling guidance.

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Armadillo Safety Solutions offers we are proud of the range of services we provide in health and safety training in Kent, London and & Essex and East Sussex. All of our consultants are qualified to degree level and are from an enforcement background. If you feel your business’s health and safety could be improved upon, then please browse our E-learning courses, CDM consultancy in London or feel free to contact us directly about our various consultancy packages.