Any activity that needs a person to move, lift or support a load is known as manual handling. As per Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992, manual handling is “any moving or supporting of a load by hand or bodily force”.
Manual handling risk assessment
Anyone involved in handling and moving goods which includes moving people, could be at a risk of having an injury. There is risk in even handling lighter loads if the task is carried out repeatedly or carried out in poor conditions.
This risk can be found in all work sectors, but agriculture, healthcare, construction and manufacturing are identified as high-risk industries because of the nature and number of manual handling activities. Injuries related to such manual handling activities are called musculoskeletal disorders. These include injuries to tissues and joints in the upper and lower limbs and back. These injuries account for more than 33% of all new and longer-term cases of work-related ill health.
Order of control for manual handling risk
As per Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 employers should follow these control measures to deal with manual handling risks:
- In the first place try to avoid such serious hazardous manual handling, decide on whether you really want to move that particular object at all or try to look for alternative method of working such as automation.
- If you cannot find an alternative, assess the degree of risk involved in such manual handling which can be avoided. That can be thought in the organization through looking for ways to work easier, less physically demanding and less risky.
- Reduce the risk of injury to the lowest level which is reasonably practical. That means to reduce risk, until there is further precaution in money, time otherwise the problem would be proportionately too great to the benefits.
Assessing manual handling risks
A manual handling risk assessment is required when you cannot avoid a manual handling task and it has a risk of injury. It will help you in assessing elements of Operation and risk and assistant taking suitable measures for control. The assessment deals with task, individual, load and environment which can be easily remembered by the acronym TILE.
- Task – Consider the activity involves any twisting, bending, stooping, sudden movement of the load, pushing, pulling, seated work or team handling.
- Individual – Every person has different physical ability and that should be considered while assessing. Every individual’s physical people it should be looked at before assigning the task. Special set of assessments would be required for those with impaired vision, young workers, disability or pregnancy.
- Load – Consider that the load is difficult to grasp, heavy, hot or cold, sharp or if the contents are likely to shift or move.
- Environment – Working environment should be considered as this could increase the risk of injury. Consider variations on the floor levels, floor condition, poor lightening or ventilation, space constraints.
Manual handling risk assessment is very important to have at the workplace as this can affect the health of the employees who are working for the organization. This is important as employees would also be safer in the environment and organization do not have to face employee turnover ratio due to health-related problems.