Manual handling injuries are very common in many professions. Employers lose thousands of working hours and incur a heavy loss due to workplace injuries and illnesses. Do you know that you have responsibilities as an employer or employee regarding manual handling safety at your workplace? Yes, we covered manual handling safety basics in this blog and added downloadable resources.
In this article, we’ll explore basic guidelines that will help you to ensure better workplace safety for manual handling operations. You’ll also learn how drastic the impact of musculoskeletal disorders can be for our economy and personal lives.
In this blog
Definition of manual handling
Manual handling means transporting or supporting a load either by lifting, pushing, carrying, lowering or any other means of bodily force. The ‘load’, in legal terms, can be a moveable object, a person or an animal or something like a roll cage or pallet lorry that can be pushed or pulled.
If you are moving and handling any load wrongly, you’ll run the risk of long-term and short-term injuries and illnesses. Out of all workplace injuries, work-oriented musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) account for over 33.3%. MSDs include limb and joint pain, back pain, repetitive strain injury.
Manual handling: Injuries and illnesses
From the statistics provided by the Labour Force Survey (LFS), we know how detrimental MSDs are. MSD-related illnesses cause substantial financial loss and impact production to a great extent.
During 2018 – 19, the total number of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) were approximately 498,000 out of 1,354,000 self-reported illnesses in Great Britain. Only, stress, depression or anxiety-related problems were higher than MSDs.
From 2016-17 to 2018-18, about 7,465,000 working days were lost due to MSDs at an average of 15.2 days per self-reported case of MSD.
Manual handling safety basics: Filters for moving and handling objects
Lifting and lowering risk filter
The filter for lifting and lowering stuff is applicable provided that:
Carrying risk filter
The filter values are applicable up to 20 metres if the lifter can carry a load on the shoulder without lifting it to the shoulder from a lower position. For example, the lifters who unload sacks from a lorry might not need to lift the load initially.
Pushing and pulling risk filter
Figure 2: Sustainable push and pull postures
Stopping or starting a load
20 kg (about 200N)
15 kg (about 150N)
Keeping the load in motion
10 kg (about 100N)
7 kg (about 70N)
Table 1: Guideline figures for safe pushing and pulling
Handling while seated risk filter
Figure 3: Handling while seated (filters)
Training for Safe Manual Handling : From safety basics to advanced
Legal obligations: Manual handling risk assessment
As per the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, all employers need to carry out risk assessments to ensure the health and safety of the employees in any workplace.
In the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992, the requirement for a general risk assessment for safer manual handling operations is mentioned. The main areas of the risk assessment include the task, load, working environment and individual capability.
Compliance with the regulations: Your duties for manual handling safety basics
As an employer, you need to:
On the other hand, the employees have certain responsibilities too. They have to:
Finally, we tried to give some basic safety tips for manual handling here. Nonetheless, it’s not enough, especially in terms of detailed risk assessment, the MAC and RAPP tools. Learn more from our extensive manual handling training for compliance certification. We have relevant blogs for you too.
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