Over a third of all work environment injuries is caused by manual handling. These include occupational musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) such as pain as well as injuries to arms, legs, joints etc.

The term manual handling covers a variety of activities consisting of lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling etc. If any one of these tasks is not accomplished properly there is a danger of injury.

Importance Of Manual Handling

Manual handling injuries can have severe effects on the company and the person who has been hurt. They can happen throughout the workplace as well as heavy manual labour, awkward stances, repetitive activities of arms, legs and back or previous injury can increase the danger.

How to prevent injuries

In order to protect yourself from manual handling injuries in the work environment, you need to stay clear of such jobs as much as possible. Nonetheless, where it is not possible to prevent handling a load, companies must take a look at the dangers of that job as well as put reasonable health procedures in position to avoid and prevent injury.

For any lifting activity

Always take into account:

  • individual ability
  • training
  • job
  • organisation
  • nature of the load
  • environmental problems
While lifting something manually

Reduce the amount of twisting, stooping and also reaching. Avoid raising  hefty tons from floor level or above shoulder elevation. Change storage areas to minimise the requirement to carry out such activities. Take into consideration how you can reduce transport distances. Examine the weight to be carried as well as whether the employee can move the lots securely or requires any help – possibly the lots can be broken down to smaller sized, lighter components.

If you are using lifting devices

Consider whether you can utilise a lifting aid, such as a forklift vehicle, electric or hand-powered hoist or a conveyor. Minimise carrying distances where possible. Think of storage space as part of the distribution process – possibly heavy products might be supplied straight to the storage location

There are some simple points to do before and also while lifting:

  • Remove blockages from the path.
  • For an extended lift, rest the load midway on a table or bench to get a good grip.
  • Keep the heaviest side of the weights beside the body.
  • Take on a steady placement and make sure your feet are apart, with one leg slightly forward to maintain balance.
  • Maintain the items near the waistline. The load needs to be kept close to the body for as long as possible while lifting.
  • Adopt a steady position: The feet must be apart with one leg slightly forward to keep a balance. Prepare to relocate your feet throughout the lift. Avoid wearing tight clothes or inappropriate footwear, which might make this tough.
  • Get a good grip: The item should be held as close as possible to the body. This may be better than grasping it tightly only with hands.
  • While the back is bent, avoid twisting it or leaning sideways. Shoulders should be kept level and facing in the same direction as the hips. Turning by moving the feet is better than twisting and lifting at the same time.
  • Keep the head up when holding: Look forward, not down at the load, once it has been held properly.

Learn more on manual handling by joining our Nebosh courses. For more information email helpdesk@cssglobal.org