Staying Safe: A Guide To Manual Handling Techniques In The Workplace

If your job involves some form of manual handling, your employer will most likely provide pamphlets or instructional videos to demonstrate the most effective technique for avoiding injury. It is always worth asking your employer if they have any additional material for manual handling information.

If you do any of the following acts – which are classed as manual handling – then you should be sure to learn the correct methods to avoid injury:

  • Pulling
  • Carrying
  • Lifting
  • Throwing
  • Pushing
  • Lowering
  • Restraining

If you work in an environment that requires even occasional lifting, it is important to fully understand the appropriate technique. Lax or negligent lifting techniques can result in muscle tears or even permanent damage, making it absolutely essential to brush up on your methods.

The basics to safely lifting could prevent up to the majority of injuries, with those who are not appropriately trained most at risk.

Planning Ahead

Always be sure to check if the sure if the object you are having to move has handles to make the job easier, and plan ahead exactly where you are taking the object – it is no use having to figure out directions once you are carrying it as it will merely prolong the experience and put you at greater risk of injury. If you are not sure of where to go, ask someone to direct you, which is also advised if you are carrying something which obscures your vision.

While there is legally no maximum safe weight for lifting, there is a varying maximum safe weight dependent on body size and gender, so make sure you do not over-exert yourself. Your employer should assess whether or not a job is suitable for your specific capabilities.

Remember to take extra care if you are carrying items for long distances, up and down stairs, or in confined spaces. If there is not much room to maneuver, you are more at risk from injury by twisting and turning.

Safety First

The HSE Act and HSE Regulations require employers to proactively protect employees from being harmed in the workplace. Incorrect manual handling technique can lead to sprains and strains of muscles and tendons or even musculoskeletal disorders, therefore it is of upmost important to immediately stop what you are doing if you experience any kind of pain when manual handling. Incidents must be recorded, just in case there is any kind of future problem as a result. Don’t be afraid to inform your employer, after all, it is there responsibility to care for your wellbeing.

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Thanks to Kelvin Francis – an accident at work compensation claims expert – for sending us this article.