Manual handling can be called upon in any business. Whether you’re in the construction industry where load-bearing’s part of day-to-day duties, or in an office where the odd box needs moving, injuries can arise anywhere – which is why it’s imperative to prevent them.
It’s a prominent matter too. In 2016/17, manual handling injuries to employees accounted for almost one quarter (22%) of all workplace accidents.
Manual handling is when one or more employees either transport or support an object. ‘Object’ includes both animate – like people or animals – and inanimate – tools, boxes or furniture, for example – items.
The below activities constitute manual handling:
First and foremost, manual handling safety is essential to ensure the safety of your employees. If done improperly, manual handling can cause two types of injuries:
If employees continually use an off the cuff technique, they could gradually pick up musculoskeletal problems. Generally speaking, these can be split into three categories: neck and upper limb disorders; lower limb disorders; and back pain and/or injuries.
Sudden accidents – like dropping an item or slipping while pushing an object, for example, can cause cuts, bruises, fractures or sprains, to name just a few.
As an employer, it’s your responsibility to ensure the safety of your employees, and this includes making sure manual handling is managed safely – by avoiding, assessing and reducing any risks, and providing appropriate training and equipment.
If an employee sustains an injury because you’ve not upheld your end of the bargain, you could find yourself facing a manual handling compensation claim – which could result in an unfriendly pay out.
Sticking with the financial ramifications, if an employee’s off work because they’ve picked up a manual handling injury, you might find yourself needing to bring in cover to maintain productivity and stick to deadlines – which, of course, comes at a cost.
Managing moving and handling safety starts from the top – you. As an employer, it’s on you to ensure risks are identified, policies are communicated, precautions are implemented and regular training is provided.
To help with this, a competent person should carry out a moving and handling-specific risk assessment – and regularly review it.
Typically, moving and handling is most prominent in the care industry – but that’s certainly not to say it doesn’t apply to other sectors.
Within the health and social care setting though, moving and handling safety is imperative not only for the wellbeing of employees, but for service users too.
It’s unlikely that moving and handling can be prevented in this setting, but you can introduce equipment to reduce any risks involved. Equipment could include things like:
If you need a hand understanding how you can reduce moving and handling risks in your business, then get in touch with our Health & Safety specialists on 0345 844 1111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
TILE manual handling
When it comes to manual handling safety, TILE is a handy acronym to abide by, which helps to minimise the risks associated with various aspects of manual handling.
TILE stands for: task, individual, load and environment. Let’s take a look at what each of them mean…
Look at each manual handling task and consider: which movement it falls into (lifting, holding, pushing, etc.); how many people will be needed for the job; if recovery periods will be required; and if any sudden movements are involved.
Who’ll be carrying out the manual handling task? Are they pregnant? Do they have a disability that could affect them? Or any health problems that could prevent them from carrying the load? If you answered yes to any of these, the employee may need assistance, or the job may need to be re-assigned.
Assess the individual, animal or inanimate object that’s being moved, bearing in mind things like is it: heavy? Sharp? Hot? Cold? Sharp? Tricky to grip? Likely to move?
Look at the area in which then object’s being moved from and to – as well as the route in between the two. Make sure there’s nothing that could obstruct the journey, like: space constraints; uneven, unstable or slippery flooring; trip hazards; and poor lighting, for example.
Expert support with your manual handling assessment
If you need help with manual handling, then let us handle it. With everything from producing health and safety policies and providing risk assessment templates, to training modules and reporting accidents, we’re here to make sure you don’t slip up.
Along with our 24/7 support and tools, once a year, one of our Health & Safety consultancy experts will inspect your business’ premises, identify any manual handling risks and let you know how to minimise them.
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