Manual handling injuries can be caused in any kind of workplace. However, the risk of injuries is higher in construction or demolition sites as compared to an office. Manual handling relates to lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, and holding items at the workplace. Of course, if items aren’t handled in the way they should, it can cause injuries in the back, neck, and upper and lower limbs. Therefore, many companies implement manual handling training to train their employees and reduce the risk of injury.
As reducing manual handling injuries in the workplace can allow unrestricted flow of work and optimal health and safety of the workers, this article will guide you through this. Read below to learn!
1. Identify the Hazards in the Workplace
There can be different kinds of hazards in the workplace and in order to overcome them, you first need to identify them.
It’s better if you yourself visit every area of the workplace that bears the risk of injury. Even if there seem to be no risks in a certain area, it’s still ideal to inspect them. Talking to the workers or staff members can also help you get a better picture of the struggles they have to go through during work.
Looking through the past injury records of your employees is another great way to identify the recurring issues.
2. Evaluate the Risks of Injuries
After identifying the risks, it’s vital to assess the risks according to the probability and severity of risks. This depends on different factors:
- Duration and frequency of work – How frequently and for how long an employee is supposed to handle the workload?
- Condition of the load – Is the item that needs to be handled in a weird condition, i.e., slippery, sharp edges, or too large to carry in bare hands?
- Location of the object – Is the object placed high up?
- The layout of the work area – Is the workspace too cramped which restricts the movement of employees and makes it harder for them to easily lift the items?
- Weight of the object – Is it possible for the workers to lift and carry a heavy-weight object?
3. Implement Appropriate Risk Strategies
After risk assessment, you can either reduce or eliminate the risk of injury. Where chances of occurrence and severity of risk are high, it’s better to eliminate it. Some tips that can reduce risk to a great extent are mentioned below:
- Use machinery where possible – If an object is quite heavy, it’s better to use mechanical aids like forklifts, wheelbarrows, and cranes.
- Conduct training sessions – Training employees on how to analyze and manage risks at their workplace in different situations will help them stay safe. The risk of injury decreases as your employees get trained.
- Leave the task – Eliminate the task when it can be carried out in another way.
- Create an ergonomic workplace – Make sure the workers can easily lift the items and invest in ergonomic furniture for additional safety.
- Change the nature of work – Allow your staff members to take short breaks between work to help them relax their muscles and joints and get involved in different tasks.
4. Review the Risk Assessment
Conditions can change at the workplace, hence, you need to review your current risk strategies and implement new strategies accordingly.
Simply implementing risk strategies won’t help you reduce manual handling injuries as long as you don’t monitor them and update them.