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Practicing good Manual Handling & Lifting at work

The need to ensure that you understand and follow good manual handling/lifting at work does not only apply to workers in places such as factories, if you work in an office this can often still be just as important. Knowing the correct way to lift things can help to prevent many kinds of workplace injuries, the most common of which will be to the back. It is therefore important to be aware of it and ensure that you practice good lifting techniques at all times.

Lifting / Manual Handling risks

Each year many hundreds of workers are forced to take days off work because of sustaining injuries resulting from poor manual handling. In the 2010/11 financial year there is reported to have been approximately 8 million working days lost because of workers getting injured in the workplace. The most common complaint is back injuries related to manual handling/lifting at work.

The risks from manual handling are varied depending on the work and how frequently the manual handling task is carried out. However in many cases only one incorrect lift resulted in serious spinal damage requiring long term care. These cases are not isolated to the factory either because office workers, who often do not take the risks seriously, make up a large portion of the workforce with back problems.

Avoiding injuries from Manual Handling tasks

Employees that carry out regular manual handling tasks will need to have training to make them aware of correct manual handling procedures. This is a requirement for certain job roles but all employees need to have some awareness of how to lift correctly. When lifting anything it is important to carefully assess the task beforehand. Take into consideration the size of the object to be lifted, the space around the object, and of course its weight. Get some help if it is an awkward object to lift, regardless of how light it may seem. Good lifting techniques such as keeping the back straight should always be practiced regardless of the weight of the object.