Employers have a responsibility to protect their workforce from hazardous activities in the workplace including manual handling.
Manual handling is defined as ‘any activity requiring the use of force exerted by a person to lift, lower, push, pull, carry, move, hold or restrain a person, animal or object’.
According to HSE statistics, in 2019/2020, there were 480,000 workers suffering with either new or long-standing Musculoskeletal Discorders (MSDs), caused by poor manual handling practice. 8.9 million working days were lost as a result of this during the same period.
Outlined under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992, a hierachy of measures is in place to reduce the risk of manual handling activities in the worplace. These are:-
- firstly, to avoid, where possible, any manual handling activity
- secondly, where manual handling can not be avoided, it has to be risk assessed
- thirdly, to reduce the risk of any manual handling activity so far as is reasonably practicable
Training is essential to ensure workers are aware of the dangers, the strains manual handling can have on the body and to show them how to mitigate these dangers by correct lifting techniques.
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