Manual handling refers to the movement of objects or materials by hand or by using bodily force. It is a common task for many workplaces, including factories, warehouses, offices, and construction sites. While manual handling can be an essential part of many jobs, it can also be a source of injuries and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). According to HSE “Manual handling causes over a third of all workplace injuries”.
Types Of Manual Handling Injuries
MSDs are injuries or disorders that affect the muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissues in the body. Common MSDs associated with manual handling include back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, and wrist pain.
Sprains And Strains
These are injuries to the muscles or ligaments, often caused by overuse or improper lifting techniques. They can result in pain, swelling, and difficulty moving the affected area.
A fracture is a break in a bone, which can be caused by lifting or carrying heavy objects improperly. Fractures can also occur if a person trips or falls while carrying a load.
These injuries occur when a person’s body is crushed by a heavy object or between two objects. They can result in serious injury or death.
Hazards That Cause Manual Handling Injuries
- Heavy loads – Lifting or carrying heavy objects can put a strain on the muscles, leading to injuries.
- Repetitive movements – Repeating the same manual handling tasks over and over again can lead to overuse injuries, such as tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Awkward postures – Bending, twisting, or reaching for objects can put a strain on the muscles and joints, increasing the risk of injury.
- Slippery or unstable surfaces – Walking or carrying objects on slippery or unstable surfaces can increase the risk of slips, trips, and falls, which can lead to injuries.
- Poor lighting – Poor lighting can make it difficult to see objects or hazards, increasing the risk of injury.
- Lack of proper training – If a person is not trained in proper manual handling techniques, they may be more likely to experience injuries.
Prevent Manual Handling Injuries
There are several steps that employers can take to reduce the risk of manual handling injuries in the workplace:
- Assess the risks – Identify the tasks that involve manual handling and assess the risks associated with each task.
- Implement controls – Use mechanical aids, such as stackers, counterbalanced cranes, scissor tables, and pallet trucks. All reduce the need for manual handling. Provide training on proper lifting techniques and encourage workers to use them.
- Provide adequate lighting – Make sure that the work area is well-lit to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries.
- Maintain equipment – Keep all equipment and machinery in good working order to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries.
- Encourage breaks – Allow workers to take breaks to rest and stretch, particularly if they are performing manual handling tasks for an extended period of time.
- Involve workers – Involve workers in identifying and addressing manual handling risks in the workplace.
Overall, manual handling injuries can be caused by a variety of hazards as discussed. Lift Safe offers a variety of manual handling equipment. We believe we have the most comprehensive, reliable, and highest-quality range on the market. Contact us today and we can advise and guide you on the right equipment for the job at hand.