Does your job require you to do heavy lifting, pushing, pulling or moving? If so, read our guide to find out about what you should know for your role.
We’re not talking about lifting weights at work… No, we’re here to talk about lifting objects at work. There’s so many jobs that require you to lift, lower, move, push and pull objects around. Whilst this is a work out in itself, those who are required to manually handle objects for lifting, moving and everything else, need to be properly trained. It ensures that employees won’t injure themselves whilst moving these objects around.
So, if this sounds like your job, have you got the correct training? If you’re an employer reading this, are you training your staff to legal standard? Manual handling training is an essential part of these roles, and staff need to be properly and correctly trained in order for accidents and especially injury to be avoided.
In this post, we’ll be going through everything you need to know about manual handling training. From what it is and to why you need it. If you’re lifting objects at work, you need to read this post.
What is manual handling training?
Manual handling training is a legal requirement in workplaces where staff members are lifting, lowering and moving objects (pushing and pulling). It’s a preventative measure against injury in the workplace, as injuries through improper training are increasingly high.
1/3 of injuries across the UK are from manual handling. With proper training, the risk of injury can be significantly reduced. Back injury through improper lifting is one of the biggest reasons for absence from the workplace.
Do I need manual handling training?
Now, it is not down to the individual to seek out manual handling training. If you’re entering into a role where manual handling training is required, your employer should be the one to provide it to you. This involves your employer undertaking an assessment within their workplace, to see if manual handling training is a necessity. There are 3 points that your employer should assess:
If it can be avoided, hazardous manual handling should be avoided (if reasonably possible).
Your employer should assess the potential risks involved in your specific work place and how manual handing is performed.
Finally, if the risk of injury can be reduced in anyway, your employer must do so (again, as long as it’s within reasonable practicality).
It is the responsibility of employers to make sure they organise manual handling training for their staff.
The Key to Proper Lifting
Whilst you must undergo proper manual handling training, there’s some things we can inform you on before you start. Yes, the proper lifting technique, as set by the Government’s Health and Safety department, involves a few stages, which we’ll outline below.
Before you begin lifting or handling the object in question, think if you can safely and properly carry it. If not, you may require a lifting/moving aid. Check the weight and the object to see if there’s handholds or anything you can use to improve your grip.
- Get Stable
The next step is to ensure your feet are in a stable position to begin lifting the object. You need to position yourself in a way where you can bend down properly to pick up the object.
Make sure you’ve got a good hold on the object. Use the handholds (if there) or adjust your grip so you’re safely carrying the object.
When bending down to retrieve the object, make sure you have a strong and proper posture, to minimise the risk of injury. Make sure you do not flex your back whilst moving into a standing position, as this is where it is most common to injure yourself.
Whilst carrying the object, it’s key to ensure it is positioned closely to your waist. Keep the heaviest side against your body so, if needed, you can alleviate the weight of the object on your person (if possible).
- Don’t Twist
When carrying the object, avoid twisting your body. This can cause injury to you. Walk in a straight line without twisting your back and body too much.
- Head Up
If you’re walking along with the object, make sure your head is up and looking forward as to where you’re going. This will prevent trips, slips and falls.
And that’s it! This has been a brief overview of a guide to lifting at work. For those that are manually handling objects in the workplace, you need to ensure you employer has done their part. They need to ensure that there are assessments carried out, along with giving staff the correct training required. Luckily, manual handling training courses can be done online. It’s something that can be done during work hours (as it’s a legal requirement for the employer to train you). Remember, it’s not your responsibility to be trained properly, it’s your employers’.