The Importance of Safe Lifting
In many lines of work and in pretty much all businesses, there is a need to lift things that are far heavier than you would usually be lifting. This can, naturally, put people in a difficult position with regards to their overall health.
Even lifting weights that are not too heavy can result in a seriously painful injury befalling a person. Lifting things with the wrong style can lead to injuries and even permanent damage, as well as a lack of overall efficiency during the day.
Whilst certain workplaces such as factories and demolition sites immediately spring to mind when thinking of likely candidates for manual handling injuries to occur, it is a fact that pretty much every worker in every industry and working environment will face manual handling risks to some extent.
To make sure that your staff are making life as safe and as easy as possible for themselves, you always want to give them the right training and techniques for moving things safely and easily. It's all about making life easier for your staff, not harder, and with stressing the dangers of heavy lifting you can:
- Reduce the amount of work-related injuries
- Improve the physical condition of your staff members
- Minimise absences and work time
- Increase productivity
All of this is obviously very useful for a business to be able to do, and will make a significant difference to the way that your business is being managed for the future. If you need help in preparing the right kind of courses on safe lifting for your staff, you should consider in-house manual handling training courses tailored to your requirements. These will concentrate on the specific loads and lifts which the workers encounter in the premises, and provides them with far more useful knowledge than they would get on an off-the-shelf, general manual handling course.
Insisting upon manual handling training for employees might seem a bit draconian and pedantic to your staff, being told how to lift an object when they have been lifting objects pretty much all their lives, but it really is for their benefit, as well as yours. Giving your staff the training they need to feel more comfortable when engaging with heavy or awkward lifting is very important, as it will greatly improve the way in which they go about their business. These regulations and strategies exist for a reason, so make sure they are adhered to by your staff at all times!
Back injuries and other muscular issues can be caused by not lifting properly, not to mention the impact which poor lifting techniques or trying to lift something which is too heavy for the person's capabilities has on the knees and joints. Even something as simple as trying to move an item whilst sitting down instead of standing up first can cause a painful injury. Supporting the body during lifting heavy equipment is vital to ensure that staff can stay in their best condition possible. To get to this stage in their development and their growth as employees, you need to bang the safe lifting drum as often and as loudly as you can, as well as providing suitable training. This will make a big difference to their overall long-term health and condition.
Manual Handling Lifting Equipment
When it is reasonably practical to do so, the implementation of mechanical aids and lifting equipment can be introduced to assist with manual handling tasks. This significantly reduces the stresses and strains that would otherwise be inflicted upon a worker's body if this equipment was not available for them to use.
Whilst this equipment is often imperative to doing the task in a safe manner, not to mention much faster than could be done if, say, a single person or group had to haul a heavy load across the factory floor rather than using a lifting machine, there are also health and safety issues regarding the machinery and equipment itself that need to be taken into consideration and dealt with appropriately.
Any machinery will have a number of potential hazards associated with it, and just because this machinery is intended to contribute towards health and safety should not make people forget that it can still be dangerous if used incorrectly without proper training or is not properly maintained.
For example a lack of training or simply operating the equipment without proper care and attention can result in injuries such as crush or trapping injuries. The contents of the load being moved may also be a hazardous substance and dropping it or other such accident can result in a serious incident which poses a risk to the health of everyone nearby. Failing to sufficiently maintain safety equipment leaves it susceptible to malfunctioning just like any other piece of poorly maintained machinery.
For manual handling lifting equipment that is fixed into position rather than an aid which is freely moved about, it is important to situate it in a way which minimises the necessity to lift loads over people's heads. Steps should be taken as far as reasonably practical to protect workers from objects falling from height or risk of trapping or crush injuries.
So whilst the installation of manual handling lifting equipment to prevent injuries to workers should be applauded, it is important to ensure that that this equipment does not endanger their health and safety also. Workers will need appropriate manual handling training not only in the importance of using the equipment instead of trying to do everything manually, but also in its correct operation so that they use it safely. Plus, as new and updated manual handling aids are introduced and come into use, further training will be required as they are likely to be operated differently than before.
Manager and Employee Responsibilities
Just as with other components of health and safety in the workplace, managers have a responsibility to provide the safety equipment and train employees in its use, but employees themselves also have a responsibility to actually use equipment, and use it in the manner taught to them. The topic of manual handling is no different, it is the responsibility of both managers and employees alike to stay safe and healthy.