For many industries, manual handling can’t be avoided in day-to-day work. This involves lifting, carrying, lowering, or moving a load by hand. According to statistics from UNISON, one in three accidents at work are the result of manual handling – making them the most common cause of accidental injury in the workplace.
Employers must legally fulfill strict criteria to minimise the risk of manual handling accidents. Luckily, manual handling incidents are easy to avoid with the right training and protocols in place. This will reduce the likelihood of injuries and lost workdays.
Preparation is key
Before lifting can begin, employees should always consider the logistics of what needs to be done. This includes assessing the weights and distances involved, alongside the heights from where loads need to be moved and how many times it will take.
Employees should never lift more than they can manage and will need to make a call on what is safe to do so based on their capabilities. Jumping straight in without the right preparation or equipment can lead to serious injury.
Use the right tools
Depending on the material being lifted, there may be specific tools to aid the lifting process. For industry working with glass and metals, investing in suction lifters from suppliers like RS allow these materials to be lifted and moved with ease. They provide a secure grip that limits the risk of slippage or dropping.
There are going to be cases where manual handling will be inappropriate for a load so be sure to make use of specialised panel lifts and vacuum lifters.
For industries involving manual handling of heavier objects, companies should provide the appropriate lifting accessories. For small goods, services and trolley lifts can transport any number of loads and support all kinds of business needs. Other accessories include forklifts, hoists, and winches.
Employers should provide training sessions on the proper technique to lift heavy loads and the correct operation of heavy equipment. Employees should be advised to keep the load close to their waist and slide it towards their body before attempting to lift it.
These sessions should happen periodically across the year to ensure that employees are up to date with current industry standards. Training content should be relevant to specific job roles and provide work-related scenarios specific to your company. This will significantly reduce the risk of workplace accidents related to manual handling.