Manual Handling is the cause of more than 1/3 of all reportable injuries that last over three days, with 10% of long term injuries a direct result of manual handling. Anybody involve in moving and handling goods and people can be at risk, there are risks involving heavy cumbersome tasks, as well as light tasks which can be repetitive if carried out in poor conditions.
Poor ergonomics, bad lifting practices and a poor layout can all contribute towards a hazardous environment. Risks can be found in all sectors, but agriculture, construction and healthcare are all recognised as high-risk industries due to the number and nature of manual handling activities.
The best method to avoid injuries is to not perform manual handling at all, but in many businesses this isn’t possible, so the risks should be reduced through appropriate training, risk assessments and where practicable, mechanical aids (such as trolleys, sack barrows and cranes).
When using aids it is always better to push rather than to pull, using both body weight and muscles to do the work, rather than brute force. Whilst mechanical aids will reduce or overcome most risks, it will also introduce other risks which must be accounted for.
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Manual Handling Training
CoLaw run a manual handling training course detailing safe lifting techniques, what to expect from a manual handling risk assessment, and how to develop safe techniques.
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