Manual handling in the workplace is an important part of work culture that companies absolutely should invest their time into. The health and safety of workers at the workplace are paramount, and a safe and protected work environment can easily create a ripple effect in increased productivity, performance to even employee satisfaction (just to name a few).
An unsafe workplace is exposed to many unaddressed risk factors – and more than likely to force employees to take wrong approaches that lead to injury. By following the best practices and tips in manual handling, everything from work-related hazards to work injuries can be prevented – keeping your workplace and workers injury-free!
The Principles of Manual Handling
Repetitive tasks can strain various body parts without employees realising that they’re injuring themselves. In fact, there are actually 5 principles to manual handling that ensures that you and your staff avoid the risk of work-related injuries.
Below are the 5 principles of manual handling that employers should follow at the workplace:
Before you engage in any manual tasks (such as pushing, pulling, etc.) make sure you plan how you’re going to execute the task from start to finish to pre-empt any obstructions that may interfere in the path.
- Placing your Body in the Best Position
Make sure you place your body in the right position before undertaking any manual labour activities. This includes having your arms and feet in a firm stance when lifting a load so you don’t injure yourself.
- The Pick Up
When lifting a load at the workplace you need to hold the object close to the body as you pick it up to avoid straining your back.
As you move with the load, try to maintain a natural posture and avoid twisting your body to increase the risk of an injury.
- Return & Placement
When you reach the work area that you want to place the object, make sure you place it down gently and lower it in the opposite way of how you lifted it.
Manual Handling Techniques
There are many tips that can guide workers to perform manual handling tasks safely and efficiently. Lifting, pushing, pulling and lowering a load without the appropriate tools can create many health risks at a business. By using the right techniques, you can keep people safe at work.
Some of the best manual handling techniques state that it’s better to lift things when your legs are in a stable position so that your joints aren’t strained. This will result in the right amount of effort being used to move objects from one place to another.
The Effects of Manual Handling Injuries
Workplace injuries aren’t uncommon as over a third of injuries are caused by poor handling procedures, which can jeopardise the health and safety of employees. When a person strains their back or performs a manual task improperly, they run the risk of an injury. Things like workers lifting objects and loads incorrectly can cause pain, illness and musculoskeletal disorders that could present many risks to your company by law as well as the health of your employees.
Accidents, as a consequence of poor work conditions, can result in long term manual handling injuries. If a load isn’t moved from one spot to another appropriately it could have a negative impact on the safety of a workspace.
Our Top 4 Manual Handling Tips
To get started on your journey to create a safe and efficient environment at work, there are a few best practices below that can help with manual handling jobs:
Lifting a load
When lifting a load, it’s best to keep it close to the body so that the weight is evenly distributed. Lifting techniques such as lifting loads with your feet and maintaining a natural posture can assist with utilising best handling practices at the workplace.
Use an aid
Using an aid that already has a handle height can help with moving a load from one place to another faster. Mechanical aids can support people in the workspace so they don’t have to lift heavy loads by themselves.
Bending or twisting your back when lowering storage boxes can strain your spine. The best tip to avoid an injury is to lower items gently and to follow best practices.
Take frequent breaks
It’s important to give your body a break in between completing tasks and manual activities. Get up and have a gentle stretch every few minutes or so to ease the strain on your body.
Prevent Injuries With a Comprehensive Manual Handling Risk Assessment
At Corporate Work Health, we offer Manual Handling Risk Assessments available for all types of businesses. We also offer a Workstation Desk Set Up Training for employees that work from home. Our company is committed to delivering exceptional service so that your employers and employees can create a safe as well as an efficient workplace at your business.