Manual handling refers to the act of lifting, setting down, pushing, pulling or moving by bodily force. Manual handling covers a wide variety of activities and includes repetitive tasks such as packing, typing, assembling, cleaning, using hand-tools, operating machinery and equipment and also includes the moving of people and animals. People often assume that manual handling only applies to ‘heavy lifting’ when in actual fact it is the act of moving anything, small or large, light or heavy. And if it is a repetitive task or one carried out incorrectly, this can result in musculoskeletal injury. This kind of injury is extremely painful for the individual and also is the greatest cause of absenteeism in the UK. However, the risk can be substantially reduced by providing the right kind of training.
The Health and Safety at Work (NI) Order 1978 places a legal duty on employers to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all of his employees. The same legislation places a legal duty on employees to take reasonable care of their own health, safety and welfare. The Manual Handling Operations Regulations (NI) 1992 specifically refers to manual handling safety and it places boundaries that employers and employees must stay within to ensure safety from manual handling activities. The law advises us to avoid manual handling, and if this is not possible to carry out a risk assessment of the task and to put in place controls to reduce the risk. The law dictates that the employer must provide initial and refresher training in order to keep workers safe and to reduce the risk of falling into bad habits of unsafe handling.
The content of the training will need to be relevant to the type of manual handling the workers carry out. For example; those working in the health care industry need to fully understand how to move patients or clients safely without hurting themselves or the person they are moving. This will be entirely different training content to those working in a warehouse moving boxes from one place to the other perhaps over long distances or involving packing at height. So, it is vital that someone booking training talks to a competent professional so that the training will be appropriate and relevant to the group attending. The training should be delivered by a highly qualified, competent and experienced instructor. Don’t be afraid to ask about the qualifications of the tutor. Don’t waste your training budget on courses that don’t meet your specific requirements. Here are a few tips:
Now you have a comprehensive understanding of the type of training you require, choose the right training provider. A reputable provider should fully understand your requirements and either be able to provide the training, or refer you to another organisation who provide this kind of training. Remember; this is not a box ticking exercise, you want the training to be totally relevant to your attendees and to have met your requirement to potentially to reduce the risk of manual handling injuries for your workforce. Finding the right training provider is crucial.
A good trainer will motivate the attendees to put in practice what they have learned. Candidates should feel empowered and refreshed after the session and have learned skills to reduce the risk of manual handling injuries at work. Many will apply the learning to manual handling activities away from work, and that to a trainer, is a job well done. And to you, training accomplished.
We at NPTNI pride ourselves for being associated with the best health and safety training professionals in Northern Ireland so please feel free to ask for advice.
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