5 top manual handling tips to prevent serious injury

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October 21, 2019
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December 16, 2019
5 Top Manual Handling tips to Prevent Serious Injury

Ensuring safe practice is perhaps the business owners most vital responsibility.  There are few things more important than maintaining the health and safety of employees.  However, even if you are not a business owner, you should be helping to prevent serious injury in the workplace. This is why businesses tend to focus on manual handling when training new staff.

Manual handling isn’t overly complicated.  It is easy to remember, and it isn’t cumbersome to implement in the workplace.  However, in a busy time, the corners are easily and often cut.  When people take shortcuts with manual handling, they are putting themselves (and others) at risk of injury.

Here are the five top manual handling tips to help prevent serious injury.


Don’t be afraid to ask for help


This cannot be stressed enough.  There are many reasons why people attempt to move items that are far too heavy.  It could be down to joking attitudes of their work peers needling them for being “weak”.  It could be that everyone in the immediate vicinity is busy, or there is no available PPT.  Regardless of how many other manual handling tips you follow, if you are attempting to lift something too heavy, you can cause yourself serious injury.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  No matter how busy you are, risking serious injury to your back in this way could be severely incapacitating.


Keeping your head up


Regardless of what environment you work in, you will need your back and your neck.  If you are working in an office, then you might not realise how much you rely upon them.  However, you can cause unnecessary strain upon your spine even if you are sitting in the wrong position.  The advice, then, is the same for sitting writing documents on a computer as it would be for carrying boxes to a printer or across a warehouse.

Keep your head up.

This important manual handling technique not only keeps your spine in the correct position, but you have better visibility.  Even though this is an easy corner to cut, it is also the simplest way of protecting your back and preventing a serious injury.

A hug can prevent a serious injury


Whatever you are carrying, hold it close and tight.  It doesn’t matter how heavy the box, the closer you hold it to your body the better.  Holding it at arm’s length makes it more difficult to handle and manoeuvre.  More importantly, the closer you hold a weight to your body, the less strain is pulling upon your spine.

To add to this, when carrying a box, protect your spine by turning using your feet rather than twisting or leaning.


Keep a clean environment


It doesn’t matter how busy you get, or how much of a rush you are to finish your current task, make sure that you leave a tidy work space behind you.  Manual handling is not only about keeping yourself safe, but about ensuring that everyone else can operate safely.

Making sure that there are no obstacles will prevent serious injury; especially in a warehouse environment where visibility might be affected by the size of the products.  Keep all routes and walkways clear for yourself and others.


Function over fashion


Many people like to look their best.  If not only to make a positive impression on customers and co-workers, but for themselves as a point of pride.  There is nothing wrong with taking a little pride in your appearance; if it doesn’t impede your ability to do your job safely.

If you are provided with PPE, or your job requires protective boots then they should be worn.  More important, if you regularly lift boxes or heavy products, then the last thing you need is restrictive clothing.  It is more important to prevent a serious injury than it is to look amazing.


Wrapping up manual handling


The problem with manual handling, is the complete forget-ability of its content.  I am sure everyone reading this has, at some point, ignored the health and safety warnings.  It might have been something as simple as bending over to pick up a box without using your knees; or struggling with a weight too heavy for just one person.

It is always worth reviewing the manual handling procedures.  It is definitely worth making sure that your entire team is aware of the safety procedures.   Whether or not they work on your shop floor, or are in your admin office, everyone needs to prevent a serious injury for themselves and their teammates.

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