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Manual Handling Article

You don't really understand the full importance of employee safety until you've spent three years working for a law firm. Every single lift job, every single time, I was asked if I thought I could handle the job. Extensive tools were provided to make all the manual labour easier and the extent of the safety precautions taken was mind boggling. Once, I tripped over a dolly that wasn't in use and I've never been so looked after in my life-it was a full week before they'd let me carry anything again for fear of injury.

About one-third of work-related injuries are musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) which are usually caused by incorrect manual handling techniques. One of the most common reasons employees take time off from work to recover from injury is sprained, strained, or torn muscles as a result of manual lifting. It doesn't matter whether you run a law firm, care home or a farm, manual handling is something most of your employees will encounter and if you aren't prepared there are serious risks involved for both the individual and the business. So how do you prepare?

1. Minimise the need for manual handling. Eliminating the hazard is the first step to take for any health and safety if it is reasonably practical to do so. Obviously, this is a lot easier in an office than a construction site and either way completely eliminating the need is virtually impossible. Still, when planning a project that will involve heavy lifting, always begin by asking the questions, "Is this completely necessary? Is there any part of this project that can be eliminated?"

2. Use tools to minimise the risk of manual handling. Don't let an employee lift what a dolly can easily handle. Machines carry risks as well, so be wary of these when considering what tools to invest in, but always be sure you are utilising the tools available to their full extent.

3. Dialogue with your employees. The obvious application is asking an employee what they can easily handle, but dialogue often includes asking an employee if they see any risks that you haven't noticed or if they can see an easier way of accomplishing a specific goal. Always be aware that many people will not want to admit that the load is too much for them, so some judgment on your part may be needed to stop them taking on something which may injure them.

4. Train your employees. This is the big one. You have a responsibility to your employees to watch out for their safety and provide manual handling training whilst employees also have some responsibility for looking after themselves. Training your workforce regularly in the safest way to accomplish manual handling is the best way to avoid such an injury in the workplace.

Sprains, tears, and back pain don't have to be a peril in your workplace. By doing your research on how to have a safe environment for your employees you can minimise the risk of injuries, protecting your business and your employees in the process.

Related Courses

Please see below for some other courses which you may be interested in:

COSHH Awareness Training Course

The COSHH Awareness course is aimed at people who deal with hazardous substances on a day to day basis. Delegates will be briefed on the importance of procedures, safe handling and risk assessment of hazardous substances within their organisation.

At the conclusion of the course, delegates will have a sound understanding of their personal and legal responsibilities for the control of chemical and hazardous substances.

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Permit to Work Training Course

A permit to work system ensures that formal validation and authority is given when hazardous work is to be undertaken. It ensures that all components of a safe system of work are established before high risk work commences, thereby controlling and reducing risk to individuals and the organisation. The permit to work is also a means of communication and control between site managers, supervisors, contractors and those carrying out the hazardous work.

This health and safety training course can be tailored to include details of your company-specific permit to work system.

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Risk Assessment Course

Our risk assessment course is aimed at anyone with specific responsibility for risk assessments, and will also be beneficial for anyone involved in the risk assessment or risk management process. Typical delegates include supervisors, managers, directors and safety representatives.

The course is designed to give those with risk assessment responsibility a sound footing in the process of risk assessment. We introduce delegates to the relevant legal framework and current HSE recommended best practice.

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Sharps Awareness Course

This course is aimed at operatives who work with sharps, along with their supervisors and managers. It is designed to provide an insight to some of the issues associated with the incorrect handling of sharp objects as well as health risks, and ensuring the safe disposal and handling of these implements.

Our sharps training course is also an ideal course to top-up existing knowledge and tool box training, or for managers needing to understand the issues being faced by their staff, and offers ideas and solutions to help deal with these issues.

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