What is Manual Handling?
What is Manual Handling?
Manual handling accounts for over a third of workplace injuries, including work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) causing pain and injuries to arms, legs, and joints, and repetitive strain injuries. This blog outlines what exactly manual handling is, why manual handling training is critical, and the steps you must take to comply with legislation.
So, what is manual handling? The term manual handling is used to describe an array of workplace activities, such as lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling and carrying, which are at risk for injury if they are not performed appropriately.
Keep reading to understand the risks associated with manual handling, and how you can make sure your employees are equipped with the knowledge and skills to navigate their work environment safely.
Manual Handling refers to any task whereby one or more employees must transport or support a load, which, because of its characteristics or unfavourable ergonomic conditions, can cause employees to sustain injuries, especially back injuries. Employers have a responsibility to reduce the risk of workplace injuries to the greatest extent possible. This includes making sure that employees use the appropriate manual handling techniques that include correct carrying, lifting, and other types of movement.
Correct manual handling is incredibly important for the health and safety of workers, whereas poor manual handling techniques and training can negatively impact your bottom line if staff are off sick due to injuries they have sustained due to strain. In fact, an estimated 38.8 million days were lost due to work-related ill health and non-fatal workplace injuries in 2019/20, according to Health and Safety Executive statistics.
Aside from the potential risks to employee health, incorrect manual handling techniques can lead to financial, reputational, and operational damage to your company - and there have been substantial fines levied against employers who failed to train their employees on the appropriate manual handling practices
Manual handling is a mandatory part of health and safety training, and it’s the employer’s legal responsibility to provide it to all UK employees. Under the Manual Handling Regulations 1992, all employees must be trained and competent in manual handling.
Not only is manual handling training mandatory but in accordance with the MHOR, employers are also required to make a sufficient and appropriate assessment of the risk of employees' manual handling of loads and a risk assessment is required for all manual handling tasks that present a risk of injury.
Although risks can be found in all areas, the manual handling tasks in healthcare, agriculture, manufacturing, and construction make those industries, especially high-risk due to the number and nature of manual handling activities.
When there is a risk of injury in a manual handling task, you need to conduct a manual handling assessment. This will enable you to identify the elements of the operation and advise you on appropriate controls. An assessment takes into account the task, individual, load, and environment, often referred to using the acronym TILE.
TILE Manual Handling Acronym
Look at whether the activity involves twisting, stooping, bending, traveling, pushing, pulling, sudden movements of the load, team handling, or sitting.
The physical capabilities of individuals vary, so you must take this into account when assessing them. Before carrying out a task, you should ask about each individual's physical capability. Each worker with a known injury or disability should be evaluated individually. Special assessments may be required for workers with impaired vision, reduced grip strength, pregnancy, or disabilities.
If the load is heavy, difficult to grasp, sharp, hot, or cold, or if the contents are likely to shift or move, keep these factors in mind.
You should pay attention to the working environment since this may contribute to an increased risk of injury. Consider floor conditions, levels of the floor, space restrictions, poor lighting, ventilation, and weather factors.
LITE Manual Handling Acronym
There is another manual handling acronym called LITE, which has exactly the same meaning as TILE but with the letters arranged differently. Both terms can be used to refer to manual handling - whichever is easiest to remember to you.
Manual Handling Poster
If you are looking for a visual reminder, we have put together a Manual Handling Poster for your workplace, which is available to download for free. Although the Manual Handling Poster is not meant to replace adequate training, it does serve as a helpful reminder of some important safety points to consider when carrying out manual handling tasks.
At HSE Docs, we are expert providers of online manual handling training, and prices start from as little as £4.99 making it a cost-effective way of ensuring all of your employees are suitably trained and have the certification to prove it. On completion, your training certificate is valid for three years and is recognised by local authorities and corporate employers throughout the UK.
The online manual handling course addresses essential disciplines that should be mastered by everyone in order to understand and master correct handling techniques, and includes:
- Risks and hazards associated with manual handling and the importance of correct handling techniques.
- The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 are, and why they were introduced.
- The importance of correct manual handling, the accident rates and types of injuries sustained.
- Correct lifting and handling techniques.
- The importance of choosing the correct mechanical aids if required, knowing their safe working limits, and the basic visual checks to carry out before use.
- Postural awareness, how the spine works, and how injuries can occur.
Once you have completed the course, you will have instant access to your training certificate which is recognised by Environmental Health Officers and local authorities.
Manual handling training is an important part of any job, whether you do manual labour or desk work. Our course will not only satisfy your employer's legal requirements but will teach you what happens when things go wrong and how to prevent them in the future.
If you have any questions regarding our online manual handling training courses, please don’t hesitate to get in touch here or by giving us a call on 0800 933 61 61.