Incorrect manual handling causes over a third of all workplace injuries and is one of the most common causes of injury at work.
The term manual handling covers a wide variety of activities including lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, and carrying. If any of these tasks are not carried out appropriately there is a risk of injury. Manual handling injuries can have serious implications for the person who has been injured, their families, and the employer.
The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 places statutory legal responsibilities on both the Employer and the Employee. The HSE has produced a brief guide to Manual Handling at work which provides some basic information on protecting workers from the risk of injury and ill health resulting from poor manual handling. More detailed information can be found in HSE’s guidance on the Manual Handling Regulations (L23) Manual handling.
Southampton City Council’s safe working procedure SWP Manual Handling sets out the responsibilities of Service Leads, Head Teachers, Managers and Employees to ensure compliance with legislation is achieved and maintained. Other applicable safe working procedures include SWP Moving and Handling of People and SWP Moving and Handling of Pupils.
To help prevent manual handling injuries in the workplace such tasks should be avoided as far as possible. Where manual handling cannot be avoided a risk assessment should be carried out by a trained risk assessor and sensible health and safety measures should be put into place to reduce the risks and prevent injury. All persons who carry out manual handling during their work activities MUST be trained to carry out these tasks safely. Both Manual Handling training and Manual Handling Risk Assessment courses are available through Learning and Development. The SCC good handling techniques poster which can be located in the forms library can be used as a reminder of the techniques learned in training but is not a substitute for manual handling training.
Some tasks are low risk and don’t need formal assessment, these tasks can be included in the general task risk assessment. Simple manual handling risk filters can help distinguish low-risk tasks from those which need a more detailed assessment. An SCC template for completing a Manual Handling Risk Assessment can be found in the forms library. The HSE have also developed some risk assessment tools to help you identify high-risk handling operations and prioritise action to control the risks, these are:
- The Manual Handling Assessment Charts (MAC) tool for lifting, carrying and team handling
- The Variable Manual handling Assessment Chart (V-MAC) which can be downloaded from the HSE website can be used in conjunction with the (MAC) tool to help assess complex manual handling operations where load weights vary
- The Risk Assessment of Pushing and Pulling (RAPP) tool
- The Assessment of Repetitive Tasks (ART) tool if the task involves repetitive work using the upper limbs
Detailed checklists and worked examples can also be found on the HSE website and can help you assess the more complex lifting and carrying or pushing and pulling operations.
To help avoid the personal cost of injury
- Use correct manual handling techniques – at work AND at home
- Take regular exercise and ensure you stretch your muscles properly afterwards
- Consider taking yoga/Pilates classes for core strength and flexibility
- Watch your weight
- Eat a healthy diet
- Invest in a decent bed and mattress
Look after your back - it's the only one you've got!
|Manual Handling and Lifting - Guidance
|Safe Working Procedure - Manual Handling
|Safe Working Procedure - Moving and Handling of Pupils
|Risk Assessment - Manual Handling