Manual Handling

Manual handling - that is, transporting and/or supporting loads using one's own strength - is responsible for a huge number of workplace accidents and injuries in the UK every year. In fact, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has stated in the past that manual handling is one of the "most frequent causes of injury" in this country (along with slips, trips, and falls from height).

And if you're assuming that the victims of manual handling injuries tend to be those in typically high-risk sectors such as construction and agriculture, think again. Manual handling injuries occur regularly in every industry; for example, the food and drink industry reports roughly 1,700 manual handling injuries to the HSE every year, most of which are caused by stacking, lifting, and transporting containers. The NHS reportedly sees a lot of manual handling injuries too, with work-related musculoskeletal disorders accounting for approximately 40% of all NHS sick leave, costing the UK health service an estimated £400 million each year.
The point is that manual handling injuries can and do affect us all, no matter our line of employment. But how well do you understand the risks associated with manual handling? Today, we'd like to take a look at some of the most common injuries sustained as a result of manual handling.

Musculoskeletal Disorders

The injuries most frequently associated with manual handling are referred to as musculoskeletal disorders, often shortened to MSDs. This blanket term refers to various forms of damage to the body's musculoskeletal system - that means muscles, tendons, bones, ligaments, nerves, et cetera. Lower back injuries are most common of all, and the resulting back pain can seriously and permanently affect one's ability to engage in all sorts of different work and leisure activities.
Musculoskeletal disorders can also affect the neck, as well as the arms and legs. Again, these injuries can be extremely debilitating, and may have a severe and lasting impact on an individual's ability to work.

Injuries Caused by Accidents

The other big risk associated with manual handling is the possibly that an accident might occur. If you are carrying a large, heavy item, there is a risk that you might drop it, which can lead to all kinds of unfortunate consequences. Workers frequently suffer cuts, bruises, and even broken bones due to manual handling accidents; some individuals have even died, for example as a result of being crushed by the load they were transporting.

Preventing Manual Handling Injuries

The key to preventing injuries such as those detailed above is to plan manual handling jobs properly, identify the safest approach, and use the correct methods / equipment at all times. Accidents and injuries tend to happen when workers who are not properly trained to carry out manual handling tasks take risks and use unsafe procedures in an attempt to get the job done.
More information on safe manual handling practices can be found on the HSE website. If you're looking to prevent manual handling injuries within your own organisation, we at sell a wide variety of load moving equipment that can be used to move loads safely and efficiently, minimising risk to the worker(s) carrying out the job.