When we hear ‘manual handling’ we often think of big, muscle-bound men loading vans as a bit of a stereotype. But in reality, manual handling can include any form of pulling, pushing, lifting and lowering objects in many workplace – so the chances are, whether or not you’ve noticed, you do it. You do not have to be working in a factory or a warehouse to lift and carry things on a daily basis.
In fact, manual handling related injuries contribute to 38% of injuries (HSE.gov.uk) which suggests that it happens frequently; therefore we can’t go wrong in knowing a bit about it.
What’s my employer’s responsibility?
- Avoid manual handling where practically possible – it just makes things that bit safer!
- Assess what equipment can be used – some things are just too heavy to lift, lower, push or pull without risking a serious injury
- Reduce risks wherever possible – this could be done by using specialist equipment perhaps
- Give training to employees – now we all like to do things our own way, but it is the employer’s responsibility to provide training, which could include safer methods of manual handling
- Keep an eye on the weight and the size of the load and make sure it is both safe and necessary to be manually handled
What if my employer fails to do this?
If your employer fails to abide by these regulations and you or a colleague have an injury as a result of manual handling then there may be a winning claim to make.
What’s my responsibility?
- Abide by any training given – if you do not follow the regulations given in training and injure yourself you may well not have a claim
- Speak up – if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe handling a certain object then it is vital that you tell your employer – they should be there to help!
- If you spot a risk it is also important to tell your employer – easier to sort out before it causes any damage
- If any equipment is provided then it must be utilised
What if I fail to do this?
If you injure yourself performing a manual handling task because you have ignored regulations then your injuries can be classed as a result of your own negligence and you could easily fail if you made a claim. More importantly, failing to follow these provisions could cause or enhance an injury that would not have been the case if they were followed, and you may have no recompense for it!
Why manual handling claims can be difficult
Sometimes, injuries are inevitable. You can work in a completely safe environment and follow the regulations and still injure yourself because muscles can easily be torn or strained even if everything is safe and sound. This is probably why the Act states that manual handling must only be used when necessary.
Either way, if you have suffered an injury due to manual handling, it is ALWAYS best to contact us and see what we think about your chances of making a claim.
IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.