Whilst healthcare, agriculture and construction are recognised as high-risk industries due to the number and nature of the manual handling activities, risks can be found in all work sectors.
Manual handling happens everyday in most workplaces, irrespective of your business sector. Goods and materials, tools and equipment, all have to be moved, lifted and carried throughout the day.
The picture below shows the recommended weight limits for men and women when the weight is held close to the body or at arms length.
To give you an idea, a box of 5 reams of A4 80gsm paper weighs 12.5kg. If you follow the above picture the box should not be lifted from the ground or lifted onto a shelf above shoulder height by either men or women. And yet, our guess is that, many office workers undertake these lifts regularly.
Manual handling causes over a third of all workplace injuries. These include work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) such as pain and injuries to arms, legs and joints, and repetitive strain injuries of various sorts. The UK Health and Safety Executive estimate that 8.8 million working days were lost in 2016 due to work-related MSDs, accounting for a third of all working days lost due to work related ill health. In Jersey the last annual report produced by the Health and Safety Inspectorate indicated that the largest cause of reported accidents, (34%), was due to over exertion and that almost 40% of claims due to ill health were related to MSD’s.
The term manual handling covers a wide variety of activities including lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling and carrying. If any of these tasks are not carried out appropriately there is a risk of injury.
Whilst work involving heavy manual labour carries a greater risk, it is not always what you carry but how you carry that matters. Awkward postures, poor lifting techniques, and failing to route plan will all increase the risk of injury during manual handling tasks.
If the business case for looking after the health of your employees doesn’t persuade you to provide manual handling training, the Health and Safety At Work (Jersey) Law 1989 specifically mentions that every employer has a duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, “safety and absence of risks to health in connection with the use, handling, storage and transport of articles and substances” by their employees, and that training to minimise the risks to both safety and health be provided.
The good news is that we have a very simple way for you to look after your employees and comply with your duty under the law! On 12 September 2017, we will be running a manual handling training course. It takes half a day and costs just £90 per person to keep you and your employees safe. To find out more and to book, click here.