The back is one of the most fragile parts of the human body and once damaged is hard to fix, so it is essential to learn how to look after it properly. A manual handling course for all staff, even those who are not expected to lift heavy weights regularly because it only takes one incident to ruin someone’s back for life.
Manual handling courses cover all the basics of dealing with lifting, both dead weights and people (in the case of jobs that cover potential rescue situations such as firefighters and paramedics) and include how to assess a load and how to lift it, if indeed it is liftable.
Sometimes, employers do expect workers to undertake jobs which are not practically possible and it is the place of this kind of training to give employees the tools whereby they can assess tasks and decide whether they are safe to actually perform.
Employers have a duty of care to look after employees but it is also the case that the employee must use their own judgement when it comes to deciding whether a job should be completed with the equipment they have. If on risk assessment it is deemed unsafe, then it is unlawful for an employer to insist.
Knowing when to say ‘No’
Lifting techniques are very useful tools not only in the workplace but at home as well, but it is the knowledge of what is reasonable and safe that gives an employee the greatest degree of safety.
If a worker is asked to lift or move something beyond their capacity and pressure is brought to bear resulting in an injury, then that person would have a very good case for bringing a claim for compensation. Back injuries form a large proportion of reported injuries at work each year and most of them are preventable.
Try the AAH 30-second online test
Accident Advice Helpline’s 30-second website test lets you know if you are eligible for a personal injury claim.
If the accident was the fault of someone else, happened in the last three years and you sought medical attention at the time, then the 14 year experience of Accident Advice helpline, on a no win, no fee* basis, is for you.
There is a 24-hour helpline and the firm offers no-obligation advice. Esther Rantzen is the patron of the company, which ticks all the boxes of the Consumer Watchdog service.
Date Published: June 15, 2014
Author: David Brown
Category: Health and safety at work