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Why Manual Handling is Important

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Manual handling at work

There can be various activities at the workplace which might involve manual handling. Understanding what activities are hazardous and what methods to put in place to avoid long-term damage. 

Some hazardous manual handling situations can be: 

– Repetitive movement

– Repetitive or sustained force

– High or sudden force

– Sustained or awkward postures

– Exposure to vibration.

Employers are encouraged to make sure appropriate steps are in place. However, if this is not the case, it can be useful to know some easy methods to safely lift or encourage your employer to implement a risk assessment plan. 

A risk assessment identifies the different body positions, postures, movements and forces, which might occur when doing a specific manual handling task. Identify if previous injuries have occurred in that location and discuss with other workers if these specific locations or tasks are cause for concern.


Ways to reduce the risk: 

  • Lighten loads (break loads into smaller quantities)
  •    → If possible, carry less multiple times. Even if it takes more time, it is essential not to overdo yourself. As the time taken might be longer, however, you might overdo yourself if the load is too large. 
  • Reduce bending, twisting, reaching movements
  •    → Try to keep your back straight and the item close to your hips. 
  • Use team lifting
  •    → If possible, ask for help. Having two or three people can significantly reduce the amount picked up and reduce any injury. 
  • Use mechanical assistance (e.g. trolleys and adjustable height workbenches and seating)
  • Prevent muscle strain and fatigue. This includes warming up before working, taking rest breaks, and allowing time to get used to a new task. 
  • Analyse the environment before moving equipment. Make sure there is no slippery surface, and if there is an uneven surface, make sure to take note. This could result in ankle strain and sprain. If the surface is slippery, it might be possible to reduce slipperiness with a matt. 

Why is training for Manual Handling necessary? 

Training for manual handling can prevent potential workplace safety hazards. It provides excellent techniques to avoid pulling muscles or back pain which might happen if appropriate care is not taken!


What should you do if someone injures themselves from Manual Handling? 

There are multiple possible injuries involved with manual handling. Such as cuts, bruises, neck and back injuries, strains and sprains.

If this happens, it is important to know how to apply aid to these issues. A first aid course is fundamental when it comes to aiding those injured. It helps you understand how someone is injured and then provides the appropriate care.

If there are any injuries, for example, an injury where someone has sprained their arm. It might be helpful to know how to make a sling.

Making sure your workplace safety kit is fully stocked is essential when dealing with an injury. Whilst workplace safety kits might only have basic first aid equipment; they can provide vital aid when dealing with an injury.


What does Manual Handling Training include? 

Manual Handling training can greatly decrease the risk of injury. It provides appropriate risk assessment techniques, possible hazards and great techniques for picking up and moving heavy objects. It also helps you understand the load of the item and the placement of the item, procedures for manual handling, and minimises workplace risk. 

First Aid Pro offers a great manual handling course. This course provides safer manual handling details and can be used for a variety of different occupations. It is a nationally accredited course and highly recommended. Click here to check it out. 

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