Manual handling is the movement of loads through lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving. Present in almost every type of workplace, manual handling often forms an essential part of the day-to-day running of businesses, particularly where the movements of goods such as stock within a warehouse or equipment within a construction site as just two common examples are concerned.
Regardless of the type of business you may own, if manual handling is required by your employees, then the proper procedures need to be in place to remove the chances of injury. An added benefit of efficient manual handling is that your operations can be made to be more efficient too.
Here is an overview of what to consider with manual handling, including what training is required and how to avoid injury. Plus, how material rather than manual handling could reduce the strain on your employees and on your business as a whole.
Manual Handling: An Overview
In essence, picking up and carrying any object is known as manual handling. Whether an employee is lifting a large parcel in an office or heavy goods on a building site, manual handling comes in many forms and cannot be completely avoided. However, every time a load is manually handled, it leads to the chances of that employee facing injury through trapping, crushing or cuts, in addition to the obvious risk of musculoskeletal injuries.
Injury through manual handling is more likely when any of the following applies:
- Awkward postures
- Poor lifting techniques
- Failing to route plan
So, it’s perhaps no surprise that when it comes to manual handling training, these three aspects are key when it comes to the correct lifting and repositioning of goods through manual rather than mechanical means.
Manual Handling Training
First and foremost, no member of staff should be tasked with manual handling unless they have completed health and safety training to reduce the risk of injury. This includes within non-typical settings such as offices or retail work. If the employee has any condition which makes them more susceptible to injury through manual handling, then they should not be tasked with any such jobs.
For any member of staff who will be required to undertake manual handling, then they will need to undergo training relating to how to lift correctly, along with knowing what is a safe load to be lifted manually.
Furthermore, the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 states that hazardous manual handling operations should be avoided as is reasonably practical and that the risk of injury in circumstances where manual handling is unavoidable must be reduced.
Some key aspects to note in relation to these statements include:
- Employees must learn common injuries associated with manual handling, along with the ‘see-saw’ effect in relation to balancing a load correctly.
- How to avoid manual handling wherever possible, including the legal limit for loads.
- How to carry out a manual handling risk assessment based on the load and environment.
- Learning control strategies to reduce the risk of injury where avoidance of manual handling is not possible.
To reiterate, it is essential that all employees tasked with manual handling undergo training and gain certification in the practice, before any kind of manual handling is attempted. The appointed trainer must hold the correct certification to be able to train others in manual handling, which is why many employers seek out official courses.
On the contrary, if an employee does attempt manual handling where no training has been given and serious injury occurs, the employer may be liable for legal action.
Metreel Material Handling Equipment UK
As noted, manual handling should be avoided whenever possible. One such way to achieve this aim is by using material handling equipment, which will lift, lower and reposition loads without the need for manual handling.
Metreel is a leading manufacturer of material handling in the UK, and we are on hand to ensure your workplace operations become safer and more efficient.
Based in Derbyshire, we operate not just across the East Midlands but on a global scale. So, if you are in search of the perfect material handling solutions for your business, or if you have any questions about workplace safety in general, you’re in the right place.