Proper Safety For Manual Handling

manual handling safety

Manual handling can raise several serious concerns. Not only does it involve moving large, often expensive materials, but it also places your staff in a situation wherein they are at risk of severe injury. 

To minimise that concern, it is important to understand the potential risks associated with manual handling. To help you understand and minimise these potential risks and mitigate the safety concerns, APT have put together this article with some tips on achieving proper safety for manual handling. 

How To Minimise Manual Handling Risks 

Minimising the risks associated with manual handling is not a quick activity. After the initial steps, it requires continuous monitoring. However, the health and safety benefits that come with it are not inconsiderate. Not only does it ensure the continued health and safety of your employees, but doing so can improve the overall efficiency of your business. 

Complete a Risk Assessment

To start with, you should complete a risk assessment. This is a short document that, as its name suggests, examines the risks associated with an activity. It’s not hard to complete a risk assessment. All you need to do is: 

  1. Identify hazards – meaning anything that could cause harm to anyone working in the vicinity of the hazardous activity. 
  2. Determine who may be harmed as a result of the activity. 
  3. Assess the risks and take appropriate action. 
  4. Make a record of what you did to minimise the risks. 
  5. Review the risk assessment regularly to identify ways of minimising the risks in the future. 

Taking Appropriate Action

Some ways of minimising the risk associated with manual handling include: 

  • Encourage your staff to use mechanical aids (see below) to help them lift and move the load. 
  • Declutter the work area to minimise risk. Make sure the floor is free of anything that could cause your staff to trip up and that any workstations have enough space to place items. 

This includes removing any unnecessary obstructions; for example, if you have a table in the middle of your warehouse that your staff has to walk around, you should move it to the side so that your staff has a more direct route. 

  • Ensure that there is enough lighting for your staff. 
  • Reduce the distance your staff have to travel. 
  • Minimise the amount of above-shoulder or floor-level lifting, if possible. This type of lifting has the most risk associated with it. 
  • Provide frequent breaks to ensure that your team is well-rested and attentive. 
  • If possible, investigate the possibility of reducing the size or weight of loads or adding handles to materials being manually handled to reduce risk.
  • Consider the people doing the manual handling and assess whether they may require additional help. For example, it may not be the best idea to have a pregnant person be doing manual handling work. 
  • When teamwork is required, make sure that it is closely managed to minimise the risk of injury. 

Mechanical Aids 

In the previous section, we mentioned the possibility of using mechanical aids to minimise the risk associated with manual handling. Some of these mechanical aids include: 

  • Duty stackers 
  • Lifting straps
  • Lifting tables
  • Material lifts
  • Handling belt 

These aids have been designed to minimise the risk of injury that comes with manual handling and are a great investment for your company. 

HSA Courses in Stoke-On-Trent

For more advice on improving the health and safety at your workspace contact APT today. APT hosts many health and safety awareness courses in Staffordshire, as well as the iosh managing safely course, abrasive wheel handling, and emergency first aid at work training. 

Contact APT for more information about our training courses today.

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Kelly Raboutot

Kelly Raboutot