Manual handling, the act of transporting or supporting loads by hand or bodily force, as defined by the Manual Handling Regulations, is a common known cause of accidents in the workplace. It is the massive accident results that Manual Handling Regulations attempts to reduce or eliminate by pointing out employer responsibilities as well as those of employees. Through the establishment of such obligations and providing relevant guidelines, it is made possible to decrease the level of accidents resulting from manual handling.

What are the common manual handling injuries?

A considerable number of manual handling injuries cause long-term illnesses. Evidently, most of the injuries are attained as a result of cumulative injuries. This means that the accidents repeatedly occur over time, causing cumulative injuries, therefore, revealing the adversity of the injuries on a long-term basis. The most common and dangerous injuries include fractures and sprain especially back sprain.

What are the employer’s responsibilities?

There are various responsibilities that every employer should undertake in ensuring the safety of the employees. These responsibilities are

  • Avoidance of manual handling – the employer should ensure that manual handling is avoided whenever possible.
  • Reduction of manual handling – reducing manual handling as much as is practically possible aids in reducing the risk of getting injuries from the activities.
  • Risk assessment – any manual handling activity poses a threat to the safety of the employees. However, the risk can be reduced by assessing the level involved and assigning the task to the most capable employee.
  • Provision of a friendly working environment – a healthy and friendly working environment is a significant contributor towards employees’ moods. Having the right attitude determines how focused the employees are. Hazardous environment also poses greater threats to the safety of the employees; therefore, maintaining a friendly working environment comes in handy.
  • Provision of safety tools – manual handling tools, such as protective clothing, an example gloves, are vital in reducing the injuries.
  • Training – it is the responsibility of an employer to provide regular training for the relevant employees, thereby providing suitable instructions and upgrading the skills held. This way, the employees will be in a position to handle the risky task in a cautious manner.
  • Record keeping, showing the employees and the injury history is a critical mode of determining who can handle what, therefore, a duty that every employer should undertake in ensuring manual handling injuries are reduced.

What are the responsibilities of the employee?

As an employee, observing safety in the workplace is paramount. Among the responsibilities includes:

  • Be cautious – an employee should practice caution by taking care while working and thus work in a way that does not put self or others at risk
  • Follow the system – the systems, as laid by the employer in adherence to the manual handling regulations should be observed. This is because the firm utilises the regulation to determine what an employee is capable of handling efficiently while reducing the risk of injuries.
  • Utilize the equipment provided and in an appropriate manner.
  • Ensure cooperation with the employer especially on matters concerning health. Through health concerns, an employer will be able to know when one is not in a position to handle certain tasks.
  • Identify and report hazards the employer – being the one directly experiencing the impacts of a working environment, reporting harmful concepts will help the organization to input mechanism to eliminate the dangers and create friendly working conditions.

Manual Handling Regulations enable the reduction of possible risks causing injuries in the workplace, thereby impacting positively on the productivity of the people involved, by keeping them productive for a prolonged period.