Manual handling injuries account for more than 30 per cent of all reported injuries at work and can have serious consequences for both employees and employers.
Potentially occurring anywhere within any place of work, handling accidents may be caused by improper handling of heavy loads and/ or repetitive or awkward movements.
Preventing manual handling accidents at work
Whenever possible, manual tasks that could potentially cause injuries at work should be avoided. As this is not always possible, employers are required by law to assess potential risks and put proper safety measures/ procedures into place. If lifting equipment is likely to reduce handling injury risks, this should also be provided.
Employers are also required to train employees in correct manual handling procedures and display relevant literature/ posters within the premises.
To remain safe and prevent being injured by work accidents involving handling, workers should know the following safe handling procedures.
Handing procedures to prevent work accidents
Before lifting, pulling or pushing any load, employees should consider:
- Their own capability
- The load’s nature (weight, size, shape, potential sharp edges etc.)
- Environmental conditions (slippery surfaces, obstructions)
Thinking ahead often also helps to prevent handling accidents. This includes considering:
- Whether handling aids should be used
- Whether help is required
- How the distance for which the load has to be carried can be minimised/ broken up by resting in between
- What obstructions, if any, need to be removed
When lifting loads, the following procedure should be followed:
- Never attempt to lift loads that cannot be managed easily
- Adopt stable position
- Get a firm hold of the load
- Adopt proper posture – slightly bend knees, hips and back, as opposed to stooping or squatting
- Do not flex back further, once lifting, by ensuring legs are not straightened before commencing to lift
- Keep load close to waist
- Keep heaviest side of load closest to body
- Avoid twisting/ leaning sideways
- Keep head up while moving with load
- Move smoothly in order to maintain control over the load
- Put load down, again not flexing back/ knees too much
- Slide into desired adjustment if necessary
If you were not trained in/ made aware of safe handling procedures and received a work injury as a result, you may be able to claim injury compensation.
Call Accident Advice Helpline for free, confidential advice from helpful, friendly advisers or use the compensation calculator on the website of this law firm.
Should you be eligible to make a claim, legal professionals to assist in your claim will be available on a no win – no fee basis. Calls to Accident Advice Helpline, can be made 24/7: 0800 689 0500 from a landline or: 0333 500 0993 from a mobile.
Date Published: October 28, 2013
Author: David Brown