Manual Handling Online Training
AARR is an initialism used to refer to the core concepts of keeping us all safe when lifting heavy objects. Understanding and following these key concepts can allow you to assess common risks and how to avoid harm in completing a manual lifting task.
Many careers involve lifting regularly, such as warehouse operatives or delivery drivers to name a few. In these cases, you will find yourself engaging with the following principles many times during your working day.
As a part of the management team for these services, as well as many others, you will find yourself needing to know these rules and carry out the necessary assessments by law.
Your first assessment of the task should be on whether it needs to be completed in the first place. Think:
- Does this task need to be performed at all?
- Does not moving it present any current risk to safety? Might the conditions on-site change to help me or others carry this item?
- Can I get assistance in carrying this item?
- If not, might it be better to have someone more suitable or capable carry this item? This suitability should be a consideration of mental and physical capabilities to carry out the task.
- Can automated or mechanical assistance be brought in under reasonable conditions to eliminate any manual labour by yourself or others where you think a risk may be present? Bear in mind that this comes with additional risks which need to be considered.
You should assess the risks involved with carrying any heavy object that can’t be avoided. It is also considered good practice to make sure that your full workforce is involved with risk assessments as different fields have different viewpoints on assessing risks. These assessments should take the form of:
- The object that needs lifting. Might it shift and cause instability when lifting? Does the shape play a part in its weight distribution? Is the packaging that contains the item likely to change shape once lifted?
- Your environment when lifting and the space you are moving into. Are there any trip hazards, height or other space restrictions in the area where you are lifting or moving into?
- Do the clothes or equipment you are using form their own hazards in handling the object? Loose clothing or harnesses may snag and cause a hindrance. Ill-fitting gloves cause your grasp to slip or become unstable throughout your journey with the item.
- How often do you lift, and how much physical work is being imparted to your body? You will lose strength over time, so your ability to carry larger objects will diminish throughout the course of your day.
With this in mind, you should make separate assessments for people who may be more susceptible to the risks of handling objects over time. This further assessment should be considered for, but be not limited to:
- Inexperienced, new or young workers
- Older people
- Those people who are returning to work because of a leave of absence caused by illness or injury. This would be particularly worthy of note if they have any respiratory illnesses or injuries to their legs, arms or backs
- Pregnant workers or those who have recently given birth
- People with preexisting disabilities either in a physical or mental capacity. This would be assessed between you and them on a case-to-case basis.
As the person carrying out the assessment on behalf of yourself or others, you should take into account the duress you or your coworkers might be under if they are pushed to meet deadlines or timeframes that are ill-fitted to the task at hand. Many injuries are due to people being pushed to work in an unsafe manner.
By following the above guidelines, you will be able to reduce the risks to yourself and the people around you when manually handling objects.
This is, of course, the intended outcome of your assessments, either as a member of the team or as the leader of the team.
Any assessment carried out in the workplace should have a review of the procedures that have taken place to assess issues encountered along the way. If there weren’t any risks to health and safety, then what went right? Thinking further, what could be improved upon next time, ensuring the health and happiness of your co-workers?
The following team members should see the review stage as an opportunity to help them going forward:
It is through careful reviews of workplace procedures that can benefit you as a team leader, improving efficiency and team allocation in future instances of manual lifting. Allow due process for your team members to come to you if they are feeling unsure or uncomfortable with the manual handling they have just carried out. Stresses that occur in manual labour aren’t always visible, and it is sometimes only by listening to your team members that you can fully complete your assessments.
As a team member, or the member of the team that has been tasked with the manual handling of objects, you can use this opportunity to bring in any health risks that you encountered, whilst also offering feedback on how you felt physically and mentally with carrying out the task you were set.
Getting to grips with these principles will help you and others carry out any future lifting efficiently and safely. HSEdocs offers an Online Manual Handling Course which can be completed within 2 hours and will allow you to carry out these assessments legally. It costs £4.99 and is essential for anyone wanting to get accredited with a manual handling certificate.