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Manual Handling Loads of Changing Weights

When it comes to manual handling and preventing injuries the load itself is obviously one of the most, if not the most, important factors in the overall risk to a worker's health and safety. Even with a good knowledge of the correct lifting techniques, a load which is too heavy, awkward to grip securely or is unstable are just some such occurrences that can result in a manual handling injury to a worker.

For some workers, the load they are required will be consistently the same, such as a factory worker who is required to move a standardised box of finished products from one area to another. In this instance there will be no variation to the load and provided that the worker could cope with doing it the first time, there is a low risk of the weight causing them to overexert themselves.

Where there is more danger is when workers are moving and manipulating loads which can vary significantly in weight. This variation means there is a higher chance of them trying to move too much or being taken by surprise, which can quickly cause a manual handling injury that forces them to take time off work. The variation can come about from a variety of reasons, such as wet weather which makes timber or other material significantly heavier or workers needing to carry loose material such as sand or gravel where they are responsible for putting it into a method of transportation and may therefore be moving different weights of loads each time. If they try to move too heavy a load, a manual handling injury can occur.

In order to try and minimise this potential for an accident, providing suitable manual handling training will warn employees not only of the dangers of over-exertion through trying to carry/move too much at once, it can also make them aware of how external conditions such as the weather can play a part in altering a situation and increasing the risk, for as well as making an item heavier rainwater or the presence of ice can also make it slippery which means it is harder to grip.

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