Is lifting a problem in our industry??
More than 25 % of the accidents reported to
enforcing authorities each year are associated with manual handling -
transporting or supporting of loads by hand or by bodily force.
I can confirm that, in the 50 or so golf
courses & playing fields with which I am associated, these figures are
Fatal accidents are rare but sprains &
strains especially of the back are the most common and result in many cases in
over-three-day injuries which will require reporting under RIDDOR to the
Many manual handing problems are cumulative
rather than being able to be attributed to any particular incident. One of the
main problems is that complete recovery is not always possible and the operator
is left with a 'weak back' and many simple physical tasks will prove to be
impossible for him/ her in the future.
The modern approach to manual handling is
ERGONOMICS - the fitting the job to the person, rather than the person to
the job - the ergonomic approach looks at nature of the task, the load, the
working environment and the individual capability.
There are some clear steps which we can
The regulations require us to make a
suitable assessment of any manual handing operations that cannot be avoided. We
must reduce injury but the regulations give no specific weight limits on what
can be handled but do give guidance.
A complete assessment of every task would
be onerous and it suggested that a pre-assessment is carried out to filter the
trivial tasks out - but remember even trivial tasks in the right (or wrong )
circumstances can lead to problems!!!
When considering the tasks it should be
borne in mind what the regulations require - the Load must be a discrete
moveable object , being moved by human effort.
For transporting or supporting an
implement tool or machine - such as a chainsaw - is not considered a
load while in use for its intended purpose. The action of pulling on a rope
while lashing down a cargo on the back of a vehicle or pulling a starter of a
mower are not covered by manual handling - the Assessment of these is covered
under the Use of Equipment Regulations and /or under the Welfare Regulations.
Personally, I am more interested in doing an assessment and reducing risk than
I am which regulation I am require to assess under!!! There are however
specific considerations which must be considered under the different
The Management of Health & Safety at
Work Regulations 1992 require employers
Such duties are satisfied if the employer
can show that the cost of any further preventative steps would be grossly
disproportionate to the further benefit that would accrue from their
introduction! Monitoring & re-assessment is also to be carried out.
Basically the first thing we must do is
identify, in our workplace, the manual handling hazards ( manual handling
operations with the potential to cause harm when carried out )
MANUAL HANDLING HAZARDS - things to be handled and occasions lifting occurs
The load itself has to be looked at from various points of view
It is on the basis of this, we will carry
out a Manual Handling Assessment.
HSE Manual Handling Guidance