Many jobs require manual handling to a certain extent.
This can be consistently throughout the day or even just now and again however regardless of how often it is required risk assessments need to be made to ensure safety.
Over a million individuals in the UK suffer from a musculoskeletal disorder that has either been directly caused by work or made worse by manual handling. The risk of injury when consistently working in an environment than involves lifting and handling tasks is high and 8.8 million working days are estimated to be lost annually due to musculoskeletal disorders.
The implications for your workforce and your business by ignoring the risks involved with manual handling cannot be underestimated. This is why we are going to show you 3 manual handling risk assessment factors to consider to keep your employee’s safe and to keep your company covered too.
Manual Handling Risk Assessments To Consider
Before we look at the risk assessments in detail you first need to know what your legal duties are to protect your workforce.
The Manual Handling Operations Regulations that were first set out in 1992 state that you need to do as an employer to safeguard your staff. This includes:
- Avoiding hazardous manual handling operations so far as is reasonably practicable
- Assessing any hazardous manual handling operations that cannot be avoided
- Reducing the risk of injury so far as is reasonably practicable.
So, with this in mind what are the 3 manual handling risk assessment factors to consider?
#1 Use The TILE Method
This is a basic risk assessment that needs to be carried out for manual handling in the workplace.
TILE stands for Task, Individual, Load and Environment.
First you analyse what the task entails such as twisting, bending, rest and recover periods and whether it is standing or seated work. Then you look at the individual, do they have the strength to physical attributes to carry out the task? Thirdly, you need to consider the load in relation to its weight and if the contents will move about and finally you take into consideration the environment such as slippery floors, uneven ground or any protective clothing that needs to be worn.
#2 Assessing The Weight and Frequency
The TILE method sets out the standard risk assessment for manual handling however you need to also consider the weight and the frequency too.
This goes into more depth than the Load step in that while the weight may be fine for the individual involved, how often will they be required to do it? Even light loads being handled over a sustained period of time carry a high risk of injury.
Ensure that adequate breaks are available and switch the work around between employees if possible.
#3 Controlling The Risk
If you can avoid manual handling altogether then great but this is not always an option. The final risk assessment factor to consider is to control the risk itself.
This involves some basic principles that should be followed such as using proper lifting techniques, clearing the route of obstructions and also using a handling aid where possible. The HSE has a thorough guide to manual handling that will give you an in-depth look at what you need.
To ensure that your staff have the correct knowledge to carry items safely in the workplace then training is required.
A half day course is generally enough to get the basics, learn how to carry out risk assessments and also ensure that proper health and safety procedure is followed.
Thousands of workers are injured every year due to poor manual handling techniques and the risk of injury is high. Make sure that your workers don’t have to take time off work due to a manual handling incident. Give them the proper training and follow these 3 risk assessment factors to maintain a safe and secure workplace for everyone.