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Manual Handling: Employer Responsibilities When It Comes To Training

Manual handling is one of the leading causes of injury in the workplace. No matter where you work, there is always the possibility that you will be required to lift heavy loads. This includes anything from deliveries, or equipment, to stock or small furniture. The musculoskeletal injuries caused by incorrect manual handling can range from mild to severe, depending on the weight of the load. These musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) can include pain or injury to the legs, arms and joints and repetitive strain injuries. Each workplace must offer basic manual handling training to provide employees with knowledge on keeping themselves, and others, safe and injury free. 

Why Do Employees Need Manual Handling Training?

More than a third of all workplace injuries are a result of incorrect manual handling. Not only do they account for a huge number of injuries, but they are also one of the biggest contributors to employee absence. Back injuries are among the most common, causing staff to be out of work for extended periods. The scale of the issue makes it appear that these kinds of injuries are inevitable, but this is not the case. These problems arise from insufficient manual handling training and are entirely preventable. 

It is a legal requirement for all employers to provide staff with manual handling training if their job requires them to do any lifting, lowering, or pulling and pushing of heavy loads. A manual handling course covers a broad range of industries, including office-based roles. If employees sustain an injury from heavy lifting in the workplace and they have not received the mandatory training, then the employer is liable and can be taken to court. 

Things An Employer Must Consider

Before allowing staff to carry out the heavy lifting, there are several things an employer must take into consideration:

  • An individual’s health & physical ability
  • The kind of load (e.g., weight, size)
  • The level of training of the employee
  • Workplace conditions

What Should the Training Cover?

It is essential that the training provided to employees is relevant to the industry and the kind of work they will be carrying out day to day. You can’t always ensure safe manual handling is carried out, but giving staff the knowledge they need ensures that you’ve done your bit as an employer to help keep them safe and injury free. Along with the essential manual handling training, extra measures should be taken to make manual handling operations as safe as possible. This includes monitoring and reviewing manual handling procedures to ensure employees fully understand and apply them to their work.

Who Is Most At Risk?

Any member of staff who hasn’t undergone a manual handling course online is at a high risk of potential injury when lifting heavy items. Without the proper knowledge of the dangers of heavy lifting may lead them to attempt to carry items that are too heavy or carry them in a way that will lead to injury. Employees who are required to work in tight spaces are at a slightly higher risk as manoeuvring around corners, and narrow passageways can be difficult. Those who are required to lift heavy goods on and off trucks frequently, for example, delivery drivers, instantly increase their risk. 

Your Responsibilities As An Employer

As with any area of potential danger, employers should ensure their staff receive the appropriate training so they are in the best possible position to maintain their wellbeing. The risk of physical injury from carrying heavy loads is extremely high, especially if the person does not know how to protect themselves. 

Here is what your training MUST cover:

  • Manual handling risk factors & how injuries occur
  • When & how to use mechanical aids
  • Goods handling techniques & safe manual handling
  • Relevant systems based on the environment & tasks of the employee
  • Practical work to identify any gaps in knowledge

Ensure the Best Manual Handling Training

Manual handling training in the workplace should be a top priority. Getting the right provider for your training course goes a long way in ensuring the quality of the training course and giving staff the best knowledge and practical experience. When seeking a manual handling training course, choose one that covers all potential risk areas. 

NATAS provides a range of online and in-person training courses that will provide your employees with tools and practical knowledge to protect themselves from injury. Our manual handling training course covers all the bases. We discuss legislation, potential injuries, and risks and demonstrate the correct techniques for the task. Those taking the course must obtain a pass mark of 80% or more to understand the training thoroughly. Once completed, they will receive their certificate instantly. 

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