Quick Tips On The Safest Ways To Carry Out Manual Handling
Posted on 19th Mar, 2018 | By Lorretta Tatham
Whatever sector or industry we work in, chances are we’ve all been faced with the need to move something heavy at some point. It’s not just in practical jobs, either. Even office workers will need to know how to transport – for example – bulky office equipment or heavy boxes of files. And whatever the nature of the load, when the situation calls for some manual handling work, it’s crucial to know the safest ways to do it, to spare yourself from injury.
Before you do anything else, it’s important to do a proper risk assessment. In case you’re rolling your eyes at the thought of getting out the paperwork for moving a box across the building, not all risk assessments are written! In this case, it’s just about sizing up the situation – taking into account the surroundings, the nature of the load, and the distance you need to move it – and taking appropriate measures. For example, is the route clear of any potential obstacles? Do you have to carry the load the entire way? If so, are there any places that you could rest, in order to adjust your grip or catch your breath?
Essentially, it’s all about giving yourself the time and energy to deal with the task. Critically, remember that you don’t have to do it alone. Don’t let pride be the reason for an injury! There’s a notable difference between what most people are physically capable of lifting with all their might, and what they’re capable of lifting without risk. The job might even demand more than two of you – in which case, don’t hesitate to draft in a third person. After all, the worst case scenario in such an instance is that you find it could have been done by two people after all – but with a third to take the weight, the object can get moved all the more quickly.
Yet another key question is: do you actually have to lift the load, or can you use a trolley, gurney or similar conveyance? Remember, pushing the load is always safer than pulling it.
Transporting the Load
As you’ll no doubt have guessed, posture is absolutely key. A lot of injuries are basically the result of putting pressure on a weakened posture. That means you should ensure you adopt a stable position, with good distance between your feet, and lift by bending your knees, not bending your back and letting that take the strain instead.
Once you’ve got a good grip, it’s best to keep the load as close to your waist as possible, both when lifting and carrying. If you need to adjust your grip at any point during the journey, make sure you put it down first! It sounds obvious, but you might be surprised at how many accidents happen as a result of something simple like that. Also, avoid twisting your back or leaning sideways at all, as this is often exactly the sort of pressure you don’t want on your back. And finally – this is something that a lot of people miss – keep your head up! It’s all too easy to strain your neck, or accidentally drop your posture if you’re looking in another direction.
Before we finish, definitely worth reiterating: give yourself plenty of time and energy to deal with the task! If at any point you need to rest or change something, don’t risk your health for the sake of getting the task done quickly. Trust us, we know what we’re talking about – here at Browns Safety, we offer several manual handling training courses, run by our own specialist instructors. You can book your place by clicking on the link above, or give us a call on 01282 615517.