What are manual handling injuries?
Manual handling injuries are those caused by carrying, lifting, lowering, pulling or pushing loads. Injuries can also be caused by repetitive actions such as repeated lifting, cutting, clipping, or even using a keyboard.
Types of injuries include repetitive strain disorders and damage to the back, arms, legs, neck and joints. This can result in extensive pain and temporary or permanent incapacity.
What are your employer’s duties?
Employers have a legal duty to reduce the risk of injuries from manual handling as far as possible. Their duties are covered under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 199 (amended).
- Make it possible for employees to avoid manual handling that is likely to result in injuries whenever practical.
- Provide appropriate and specific manual handling training.
- Carry out a risk assessment before manual handling is undertaken.
- Take account of the capability of individual staff to carry out manual handling tasks.
- Make sure the correct equipment is provided for manual handling tasks and ensure the equipment is well maintained.
- Make changes to the workplace environment to prevent employees from having to twist their body when lifting, lift items above shoulder height or from the floor, and to reduce the need to carry loads long distances.
- Make manual handling easier by ensuring there is plenty of space, good flooring, reasonable lighting and a room temperature conducive to physical work.
- Organise the working day so that employees do not work against tight deadlines as rushing causes accidents.
- Make sure employees have enough breaks to minimise the risk of repetitive strain injuries.
- Consider the manual handling risks to employees who are not working on the premises (for example, working from home).
- Keep accurate records of manual handling accidents and incidents.