Manual Handling at Work

Lifting is one of the most common causes of injury. Lifting injuries can be very frustrating leading to pain and time off work. Some of the most common types of lifting injuries include:

  • Disc herniation (slipped disc)
  • A sprain of muscles in the back

It is very important to try to reduce the risk of injury during lifting. Below we have put together a simple 5 step manual handling at work guide that may help reduce your lifting risk:

1) Assess whether it is safe to lift

In order to assess the safety of the lift, you need to consider the weight of the object, how far you need to move the object vertically and horizontally and how often you will need to make the movement. If you doubt your ability to lift the object safely DO NOT PLAN TO LIFT.

2) Plan your lift

If you think it is safe, it is important to plan your lift before you start. In particular, you need to think about whether

  • You need some help with the lift
  • You need to use any lifting aids
  • You can reduce the load in any way
  • You can push or pull rather than lift

3) Prepare your body for the lift

Before starting the lift, make sure your feet are on a stable surface and are shoulder width apart.

4) Keep good posture during lifting.

When bending down to pick anything up try to bend the knees and hips and keep your back flat. Once you pick up the object, keep it close into the body and keep your back flat as you straighten your hips and knees. Once you have lifted the object up, remember to change direction by moving your feet rather than twisting your back.

5) Keep good posture when lowering the object

When lowering the object being lifted, it is important to bend at the knees and hips and keep your back flat.

Things to avoid when manual handling at work:

  • Lifting things of an unknown weight
  • Moving too quickly
  • Twisting during lifting and lowering
  • Talking while lifting
  • Bending at your back when picking things up
  • Lifting on uneven surfaces
  • Holding the object away from your body