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Manual Handling accounts for over 30% of reportable accidents so it is worth protecting staff especially as back injuries can be very disruptive for your business. Injuries aren't always caused by lifting just heavy weights as it is the way a load is lifted and carried that does the damage. Manual Handling guidance is easy to provide, however making sure it is used is easier said than done.

The regulations state that handling should be eliminated if at all possible. Despite having more labour saving devices than ever before, lifting and moving items is still required and therefore removing the need is not always possible. Even if you outsource your handling requirements, you still retain some responsibility for ensuring the organization moving the equipment has appropriate risk assessments and trained staff in place.

Listed below are some tips to help your staff lift safely -

- Follow any handling instructions on the package

- Ensure the item is light enough to lift

- Any awkward or unstable items should be put in a box

- Secure or remove any loose cables

- Get a good grip on the object

- Keep your back straight and bend your knees to reach for the load

- Keep the load close to your body, use your leg muscles and lift slowly

- Plan your route and make sure it is clear and unobstructed

- Don't carry so much that you cannot see in front of you clearly

- Turn your whole body rather than twist

- Stop and readjust your grip if necessary or remove items if they are too heavy

- Take your time. Although you maybe in a hurry, rushing with loads is never a good idea

- Make sure you can place the load safely at the other end. Place the item then adjust it if you have to

- It is better for your back and more time effective to make two trips safely rather than struggle with one trip

The most likely assistance in manual handling is using a mechanical device such as a trolley. Trolleys are very useful as they take the weight of the item and it is easier to push or pull. Staff using them need to remember not to load too much and make sure it is secure so it doesn't fall off.

A lot of injuries happen from stretching and bending. Consideration should be given to where items are stored and ideally placed at waist level, certainly heavier items so that the need to bend is reduced. Lighter or less frequently used items can be stored a bit higher but appropriate steps need to be in place so that stretching is reduced.

Hopefully the manual handling guidance above will help keep staff safe from the risks in handling items and keep them being productive whilst at work.

Nigel J Welford is a qualified Health & Safety professional and believes in making the process of health and safety in the workplace as simple as possible whilst still being effective and meeting all the regulations. Get a copy of his free report "The Secret To How Health & Safety Can Improve Your Business And Profits: 7 Everyday Pitfalls To Avoid" from http://www.healthandsafetyintheworkplace.comArticle Source:


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