Manual Handling

MH Smart

Manual handling is one of the most common causes of injury at work. Almost a quarter of all injuries at work are caused by accidents during manual handling. Most of the injuries are to hands, feet, legs and backs. Some of the back injuries result in permanent disability.

Although the manual handling operations regulations do not specify what weight a person can lift, it is now recognised that one person should not lift any load exceeding 20kg.

Take care of yourself by following these guidance notes:

  • If mechanical handling equipment is available and you are authorised and trained to use it, do so.
  • Wear the right protective equipment for the job.
  • Know your physical capabilities and only tackle jobs you can reasonably handle.
  • Think the job through:

Can you handle the load by yourself?

  1. Is there a clear, proper lit, walkway to the work or stacking area?
  2. Is there a safe stacking area?
  3. Will timber packing be required between the articles when stacked?
  4. Seek advice on height restrictions for stacks. Remember, it is often more dangerous de-stacking than stacking!
  • Always check that the weight of the load is known before lifting.
  • Know the correct way of lifting before attempting to lift:

  1. Stand reasonably close to the load, be sure footing is firm and feet are about 300ml apart.
  2. Squat down by bending the knees, keeping the back as straight as you can.
  3. Place hands where they will not slip and grip firmly.
  4. Breathe in before lifting- inflating the lungs helps support the spine.
  5. Straighten up with the legs, keeping the back as straight as you an.
  6. Hold the load firmly and close to the body.
  7. Insure your view¬†isn’t obstructed¬†by the load whilst working with it.
  8. Lift slowly and smoothly. Avoid jerking motions.

When two or more persons lift a load, one of the team must be nominated to give instruction to ensure that each person lifts an equal share and the team works together!

MH