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ManualFriday 06 September 2019

Manual Handling – how to avoid injury when lifting weight at work.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), manual handling causes more than a third of all workplace injuries in the UK. These include work-related musculoskeletal disorders such as pain and injuries to arms, legs and joints, and repetitive strain injuries of various sorts.

Manual handling relates to the moving of items either by lifting, lowering, carrying, pushing or pulling. If any of these tasks are not carried out in the correct manner, there is a risk of injury.

The weight of the item is a contributory factor, but many other factors can create a risk of injury, for example the number of times you have to pick up or carry an item, the distance you are carrying it, where you are picking it up from or putting it down, and any twisting, bending, stretching or other awkward postures you may adopt while doing a task.

Manual handling injuries can have serious implications for the person who has been injured, so where it is not possible to avoid handling a load, employers must look at the risks of that task and put sensible health and safety measures in place to prevent and avoid injury.

So how can risk be reduced? Here are a few sensible precautions for starters.

  • Reduce the amount of twisting and reaching
  • Avoid lifting from floor level or above shoulder height, especially heavy loads
  • Adjust storage areas to minimise the need to carry out such movements
  • Consider how you can minimise carrying distances
  • Assess the weight to be carried and whether the worker can move the load safely or needs any help – maybe the load can be broken down to smaller, lighter components
  • Remove obstructions from the route.
  • For a long lift, plan to rest the load midway on a table or bench to change grip.

If an employer fails to provide proper manual handling training or doesn’t conduct a proper risk assessment on the lifting of objects, they could be held liable for any injury suffered by an employee. However, it is not always easy to know whether an employer is at fault when you injure your back lifting something at work, which is why it is important to speak to a personal injury solicitor like Swindon Accident Solicitors about a possible claim.

If you are injured at work because of manual handling, you may be entitled to compensation. Please contact Swindon Accident Solicitors on 01793 425595 for a free, no obligation consultation.

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