Manual handling can lead to repetitive strain injuries, back pain, hernias, and numerous musculoskeletal disorders. In fact, over a third of all workplace injuries are caused by manual handling. Proper health and safety precautions can help to minimise the risk of injury and protect those on site.
If you have experienced an injury that wasn’t your fault, contact a personal injury lawyer for advice.
Follow this quick guide to avoid manual handling injuries.
Train workers correctly
Health and safety often come down to the manager on site. Your workers must be trained in the correct techniques for manually handling heavy items. They should know the risks and how to mitigate them. You should offer regular training workshops to keep their health and safety knowledge up to scratch. Keep a close eye on the safety proceedings on-site, and make sure your workers follow the necessary protocols.
Do not lift something that is too heavy
Your workers should know when something is too heavy for them to lift. They need to assess the item and whether they can lift it. They may need a second person to help them or a machine to lift larger items. It’s important to foster a supportive and safe community on site. There should not be any bullying or shaming around any project on-site, particularly when it comes to manual handling.
Lift with legs, not back
Always lift with your legs and tighten your core when handling a heavy object. You should keep your back straight and move your feet rather than twisting your back. You need to protect your back at all costs and keep your body in good shape. Lifting with your back can lead to long-term injuries and pain. Your workers need to be fit and healthy to keep themselves safe on site. An unfit worker could easily overexert themselves and strain a muscle.
Use mechanical lifting where possible
Machinery should be used to lift heavy objects where possible. Lifting aids can reduce the risk of injury for your team and speed up the process. You can work more efficiently by lifting larger amounts at a faster rate. Win, win! However, you can’t always use machinery to lift items. Sometimes there isn’t enough space to manoeuvre the machine or budget to hire it.
Plan regular breaks
Your team needs to take regular breaks throughout the day. Overexerting themselves and lifting too much can make them more prone to injury and long-term pain. They should change tasks to give their muscles a break. Repeatedly using the same muscles and lifting the same objects can lead to repetitive strain disorder.
Remember to train your team properly, and watch out for any signs of injury.