Employee health and safety is not only a compliance concern, it also affects, directly or indirectly, the lives of all workers and society as a whole. A responsible employer needs to look after the safety of their employees especially when performing manual handling tasks. As per the WHS regulations, employers must implement controls that either effectively eliminates or reduces a manual handling risk.
Without proper policy and procedure, managing manual handling risks would be impossible. Businesses across the globe also invest in implementing manual handling training courses in their workplace to reduce potential risks. In this blog, we look at what manual handling is and how businesses can reduce or eliminate these risks.
What is manual handling?
Manual handling is any task or work that requires humans to pull, lift, push, move, or use force in any way to manage heavy loads. The type of the load can vary based on the industry, but the manual labour required to accomplish the tasks more or less remains the same.
What are manual handling risks?
Manual handling risks include all types of hazards that can cause injury, disease, disorder, disability, or even death to the employees or manual labourers involved. These risks should be avoided to provide employees with a healthy and safe workplace.
How can you reduce or eliminate manual handling risks?
The importance of reducing manual handling risks cannot be overstated. Not just because the law requires you to, but also as a responsible employer you need to ensure manual handling risks are being avoided as much as practicable to provide your employees with better working conditions. Some of the steps you can follow include:
Eliminate: One of the best approaches to avoiding manual handling risks is to eliminate them where possible or minimise them as far as is reasonably practical.
Reduce: When a task cannot be practically removed or eliminated from a workplace or a job altogether, measures can be taken to reduce the risks associated with it. This includes prioritising and categorising control measures into a hierarchy. Making small but significant changes to a work process or procedures, introducing mechanical aids, supporting workers with suitable training, etc. can all help reduce the risks.
Some of the steps to reduce manual handling risks can include:
Planning: The planning to reduce risks involves carefully studying every process or task to assess the risks. Know exactly what type of tasks and materials the employees will be dealing with, what mechanical aids they will need etc.
PPE: Always insist your employees use personal protective equipment (PPE) like outerwear, gloves, safety boots and manual lifting aids. Ladders and other such equipment should also be used as appropriate to ensure any risks are avoided.
Training: Training your employees about the common risks, hazards, roles and responsibilities, Hazard Identification Risk Assessment and Control (HIRAC), and reporting of manual handling risks or incidents can help your employees efficiently reduce those risks.
Monitor: All manual handling procedures should be monitored to ensure risks can be reduced before they can become harmful. Setting up policies and procedures and monitoring manual handling tasks frequently can avoid any potential risks.
Manual handling risks must be avoided at workplaces for the benefit of all workers. Compliance guidelines also enable companies to demonstrate their commitment to keeping their workplaces safe and healthy for all employees. Manual handling training courses can help you spread more awareness in the workplace and reduce the risk to employee health and safety.
This article was originally published here.