Manual Handling Injuries at Work
Many jobs require the picking up of items or carrying of loads on a daily basis. Most of the time, this occurs without fuss or harm but unfortunately, there are still a large number of injuries incurred every year due to manual handling accidents.
In fact, in 2014/15, 23% of reported non-fatal injuries were due to handling accidents. To put that in perspective, that’s over 17,000 injuries. In 2013/14 over 909,000 days were lost as a result of manual handling injuries and the highest number of reported handling injuries were in the health and social care and manufacturing industries.
Injuries commonly associated with manual handling include short term injuries such as hernias, sprains and broken bones as well as longer term damage such as ongoing back injuries.
Definition of Manual Handling
Manual handling can be defined as the supporting or transporting of a load manually (e.g. by hand or by use of bodily force). This includes any lifting, pulling, pushing, putting down or carrying of a load.
Main Causes of Manual Handling Injuries
Typically, the main cause of manual handling accidents is that of poor manual handling techniques or attempting to lift or push/pull too heavy or large a load.
Employees have a general duty and responsibility for their own personal safety. Employees should ensure that they:
- Take reasonable care of their personal health and safety
- Cooperate with any procedures put in place by their employer
As a general rule, employers have a duty of care to ensure they have done all they reasonably can to protect you from harm.
However, on top of that general duty of care, there is a legal duty for employers to follow the Manual Handling Operations Regulations. These regulations were put in place to protect individuals from the risk of injury due to manual handling.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a ‘no lifting’ policy within the regulations. The regulations however do state that manual handling should only be performed when it absolutely must be and even then, only once the risk has been assessed and minimised where possible.
There are three main areas the regulations focus on in terms of minimising the risk of harm due to manual handling:
Avoid manual handling where possible
The best way to ensure that no one gets injured as a result of manual handling is to not do it in the first place. Ways to avoid manual handling is to use machinery or other equipment to help perform the task. Examples of this include lifts and trolleys.
However, it is acknowledged that there are instances where avoidance is not possible.
Assess the risk of manual handling where it is required
Where avoidance is not an option and manual handling is required, an assessment should be performed to ensure that any remaining risks are minimised. The main areas of the risk assessment are:
- The task in hand
- The load involved
- The working environment
- The individuals involved capability
Within this, factors to consider include:
- Whether the activity involves twisting, bending, sudden movement and the distance of travel required
- The size and weight of the load
- The space available to perform the activity in, the conditions of the area (wet, slippery, etc)
- The strength and height of the individual
Reduce the risk of injury
Reducing the risk of injury includes considerations such as whether or not more than one person can perform the task, could the loads be made smaller and whether the distance of travel could be reduced.
Further to this, training can be a powerful tool in reducing the injury risk. With the majority of injuries occurring due to poor handling techniques, training should be provided to staff to ensure they are familiar with the best practice and different ways of approaching tasks. This training should include identification of the main risks and how injuries could happen, use of aids and proper handling techniques.
Of course, training can help raise awareness and skill level but should never be relied on completely to reduce all risk of manual handling injury.
Can I Make an Injury Claim?
If you have been injured through no fault of your own, then you may be able to make a claim. Employer’s have a responsibility to ensure that the Manual Handling Operations Regulations are followed and if they have breached that responsibility, you can make a claim.
How Can Injury Lawyers UK Help You?
Here, at Injury lawyers UK, we have a dedicated team of qualified, professional injury claims lawyers. With years of experience, we have the know how to guide you through the claim process ensuring your needs are best looked after.
We work on a no win, no fee basis so there are no expensive upfront payments to make and absolutely no risk to you. We will fight to get you the maximum amount of compensation available to you.
We also know that getting injured does more than just physical damage. It can be a stressful time, especially if current employers are involved. We aim to take the stress away from you, working on your behalf and in your best interest allowing you to spend time recuperating from your injury.
Throughout the process, we will keep you informed and up to date with where your claim is at. We only speak in plain English avoiding the complicated legal jargon so many others revert to. You’ll never have to chase us.
Could you be eligible for compensation as a result of a workplace injury? Want to find out if your claim could be successful? Talk to one of Injury Lawyers UK specialist solicitors today by calling us on 0800 285 1411 or complete an online enquiry form.
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