This month’s health & safety theme is ‘manual handling’. Manual handling may be a factor in any task that requires pushing, pulling, lifting or putting down a heavy load where the load has the propensity to cause damage or risk.

You might ask yourself ‘why does manual handling result in a risk of injury or ill health?’ And the answer is simple, a lot of the problems that cause back pain are a result of injury/damage to a disc. Bending over to lift heavy objects results in pressure on the discs. Twisting and bending together puts the greatest stress on the spine, especially on the discs, hence why it is so important to be fully trained in manual handling.  

Check out the HSA tips for manual handling below:

  • When carrying out the risk assessment, decide if the load is too heavy or too large, unwieldy or difficult to grasp, unstable or has contents that are likely to shift or is positioned so that it requires twisting or bending of the trunk
  • All work involving manual handling must be planned, organised and carried out by competent persons
  • Better ways of working with less manual handling must be identified: By using mechanical handling/lifting equipment and training employees in its use by breaking down loads into smaller/lighter sizes by relocating materials storage to reduce carrying distances
  • Employees must be consulted about measures to be put in place to avoid or reduce manual handling
  • Manual handling training specific to the tasks must be provided and employees supervised to make sure they are lifting correctly

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