Accidents caused by lifting, carrying or handling proved to be the single biggest contributor to lost working days in 2012/13, according to the HSE.
The figures from the Health and Safety Executive show that the more than £1.5 million days taken off sick from work were as a result of a handling injury and that these sort of incidents were the most frequent cause of workers taken more than seven consecutive days off sick.
With an estimated total of three million working days lost due to handling injuries and slips and trips, it is important to think carefully about lifting and material handling on all levels.
Nowadays we are fortunate enough to have access to so much clever state-of-the-art equipment – in most cases there is nearly always some sort of machinery that has been specially designed to take the strain.
Using lifting equipment can allow contractors to work more efficiently while minimalising injury risk. There is so much specialist equipment now available either to buy or to hire – it is possible to find the perfect piece of kit no matter how difficult the job or what barriers might be in the way.
But sometimes manual handling is inevitable so it is important to consider all aspects of the lift to carry out an appropriate risk assessment.
Small points can make all the difference including:
- Considering what type of lifting aid you need to suit the job in hand.
- Thinking in advance in terms of storage; can very heavy items be delivered direct to the site or storage area?
- Avoid carry heavy loads for any distance.
Whether it involves lifting, pushing, lowering or carrying, the Health and Safety Executive has produced plenty of tools to help contractors undertake manual handling safely. For more details visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/msd/manualhandling.htm