Common Workplace Accidents Day 2. Manual Handling – Moving Heavy Objects/Materials
Manual handling is another common workplace accident claim. It comes as no surprise that back, neck and shoulder injuries are common for those who must lift objects as part of their daily tasks at work. What people don’t know is that these injuries can just as easily be as easily sustained by pushing and pulling heavy objects also. The most common reasons for manual handling injuries are work are:
• Employees not provided with manual handling training
• Employees expected to lift or handle unsafe loads at work (too heavy, too large, unstable, awkward to grasp and likely to shift as its being moved)
• Awkward to lift – only achieved by twisting of the body
• Confined workspaces – no enough room to lift, uneven floor, slippery floor, ceiling not high enough, temperature or humidity is not suitable
• Inadequate equipment for lifting or moving a heavy object
• Insufficient rest periods – over-frequent lifting
• The employee is physically unable to move an object
Avoiding Manual Handling Injuries at Work *
An employer is obliged to provide the following to their employees who work in these manual environments. If it is proven that they have not provided the correct safety measure or equipment, then they may be held liable for your injuries.
An employer must do the following to avoid manual handling injuries :
• At the outset, carry out a full risk assessment of existing manual handling practices and then decide on what current manual handling procedures can be avoided.
• Take appropriate organisational measures or use appropriate means, mechanical equipment, to avoid the need for manual handling of heavy loads by employees.
• The distance at which an employee must move a heavy object must also be analysed and reduced where possible
• Physical capabilities of the employees should be considered
• Where the employer cannot avoid certain practices, mechanical equipment should be introduced.
• Provide manual handling training to all employees
• Provide adequate equipment needed to move heavy objects, for example, pallet trucks
• Provide personal protective equipment such as gloves
According to the HSA, the weight of a load is very important and the frequency of how many times per minute an employee must carry or move a load or object should also be considered and:
• Where the task is repeated one or twice per minute the weight guidelines for lifting should be reduced by 30%
• Where the task is repeated five to eight times per minute the weight guidelines for lifting should be reduced by 50%
• Where the task is repeated more than 12 times per minute the weight guidelines for lifting should be reduced by 80%
Room temperature is also a factor to consider to avoid injuries:
• For Sedentary mental work – recommended room temperature is 21 Degrees Celsius
• For Sedentary light manual work – 19 Degrees Celsius
• For Standing light manual work – 18 Degrees Celsius
• For Standing heavy manual work – 17 Degrees Celsius