Incorrect manual handling is one of the leading causes of physical ill health in the construction industry. Many people believe that injury from regular lifting, lowering, carrying, pushing or pulling is inevitable, but that’s not the case – with the right training and precautions, it can be done safely.
In The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (MHOR), it is stated that employers must manage the risk posed to their staff by manual handling. This involves identifying who will be doing the work, what they will be handling, and where it will be done. Employers must then prevent risks where possible or control them where they cannot be fully eliminated. In addition to this, training on correct handling techniques must be provided for everyone involved.
The consequences of not following these Regulations are severe. Excessive stresses and strains on the body can quickly damage muscles and tendons, as well as lead to long-term problems with joints and tissues (musculoskeletal disorders, or MSDs). Symptoms can include pain, discomfort, aching, tingling, swelling and numbness, as well as a reduced ability to carry out basic tasks.
In the construction industry, manual handling is the biggest cause of injuries lasting over seven days – so not only are workers suffering, but so are their employers who have to deal with absence in their workforce. In fact, cases of MSD account for more than a third of ALL work-related illnesses reported each year. It is imperative that manual handling is properly managed, so begin with the right training and then ensure that all necessary actions are taken.
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