Friday “take five” top tips: Manual handling
Safe handling and lifting in the workplace
It’s an employer’s responsibility to ensure the safety of their staff in the workplace. However, in order to ensure the safety of all, employees have an important role to play in adhering to guidelines and following safe working practices.
A major cause of injury in the workplace is lifting and handling heavy items. One wrong move and you could injure your back, resulting in significant pain and absences from work.
To help, commercial and industrial equipment manufacturer and retailer, Slingsby, has shared its top tips for safe manual handling in the workplace.
How to lift
To prevent injury, you’ll need to adopt best practice when lifting an object. Follow these steps:
- Make sure there is a clear pathway to where you want to move the item to.
- Stand directly in front of the item you’re lifting, making sure your feet are shoulder width apart.
- Keep your back straight and bend your knees to squat to the floor.
- Using both hands, firmly grip the item.
- Keep the object close to your body and stand up by slowly straightening your legs. Try not to jerk or twist.
- Carry the item to its chosen location by taking small, careful steps. If the item is large, ask a colleague to guide you to prevent accidents.
- To put the item down, keep your back straight and slowly bend your legs. Lower each side separately to avoid trapping your fingers.
How much should I lift?
While there are general guidelines for how much men and women should lift, different factors can influence the exact weight.
In general, men should lift no more than 25kg, while women should limit themselves to a maximum of 16kg. However, if they are lifting an item above shoulder height, the limit drops to 10kg for men and 7kg for women. When items need to be lifted above shoulder height while being kept away from the body, the limits drop further, to just 5kg for men and 3kg for women.
Manual handling and lifting equipment
Manual handling and lifting equipment, such as lifts and trucks, are used by staff in many industries to transport heavy loads. However, without proper training, this equipment can be as, if not more, dangerous than using an improper lifting technique.
If your employer has supplied equipment, they should provide full training to ensure you can safely and confidently use it.
Visit Slingsby: http://www.slingsby.com/
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Matt, an ergonomics and human factors expert, shares his thoughts on why MSDs are important, the various prevalent rates across the UK, what you can do within your own organisation and the Risk Management process surrounding MSD’s.