While employers are legally required to provide training sessions or at least printed information on manual handling procedures to prevent accidents at work, few home owners have the benefit of access to such information. As a result, many injuries in the home are the direct result of lifting or carrying heavy loads wrongly.
How not to carry loads
In order to prevent injuries at home or indeed work injuries when dealing with heavy loads, it is important not to:
- Stand away from or twist to reach a load
- Bend to pick up the load
- Loosely hold the load
- Distribute the weight unevenly
- Hold the weight away from the body
- Move quickly or jerk when straightening
While carrying loads, it is also important not to:
- Unnecessarily twist the body
- Take long strides
- Risk trip injuries by carrying loads restricting vision without assistance
Twisting or bending when placing the load onto the floor should also be avoided, as should trapping fingers by not lowering the load’s sides separately.
Situations requiring extra care
The risk of suffering personal or work-related injuries is increased if extra care is not taken when carrying heavy loads for long distances, up or down stairs. This also applies to situations where heavy loads have to be stacked above shoulder height, or when a small room or workspace necessitates stooping or twisting to lift a load.
Naturally, the weight of a load should also be considered. Official guidelines state the maximum weights men and women should attempt to lift as 25 kg and 16 kg respectively. There are, however, other factors to be considered. If, for instance, a load has to be lifted above shoulder height, these limits drop to 10 kg and 7 kg respectively for males and females. Should the load have to be carried away from the body, the maximum permissible weights drop to 5 and 3 kg respectively.
When the weight gets you down
Homeowners are basically responsible for their own health and safety, but workers should be protected against workplace injuries by their employers. If you suffer a manual handling injury due to improper or complete lack of training in safe handling procedures, you may be eligible for work injury compensation. To learn more about industrial injury compensation and how to claim, have a confidential, informal chat with one of Accident Advice Helpline’s friendly, helpful advisors. Calls are free, there is no obligation to initiate a claim and the line is open 24/7.
Date Published: September 30, 2014
Author: Accident Advice