In 2014/15 manual handling was the most frequent cause of over seven-day injury, approximately 909,000 working days are lost each year due to handling injuries.
Incorrect manual handling is one of the most common causes of injury at work. It causes work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) which account for over a third of all workplace injuries. Manual handling injuries can happen anywhere - on farms and building sites, in factories, offices, warehouses, hospitals, banks, laboratories, and while making deliveries. Heavy manual labour, awkward postures, manual materials handling, and previous or existing injury are all risk factors in developing MSDs.
Here we take a further look into manual handling and provide some ‘top tips’ on how you can reduce your risks of suffering an injury.
• Consider the size of the load, the weight and the shape. If the load is large or heavy are there any aids to help? For example, a pallet truck?
• Where is the load going and are there any obstacles that need to be dealt with beforehand?
• If the load is being carried, ensure distances are kept to a minimum.
• Adopt a stable position. Feet should be apart with one leg slightly forward to maintain balance (alongside the load, if it is on the ground). Be prepared to move your feet during the lift to maintain stability.
• Keep hips and knees relaxed, ensure you have a firm hold and lead with your head as you lift.
• Keep movement smooth and make sure the load is held close to your body.
• Do not jerk or overstretch, and if you need a helping hand just ask.
For more detailed information, you can visit the manual handling section on the HSE website http://www.hse.gov.uk/msd/faq-manhand.htm
You can also download ‘manual handling at work a brief guide’ http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg143.htm