Every employee engaged in manual handling activities is subject to health and safety risks associated with manual handling. Although the worker fatality rate in Australia decreased by 53% in 2019 from the peak in 2007, efforts still need to be put in to avoid such incidents in the future.
All employers must ensure their workplaces are safe, by taking appropriate actions to raise awareness around safe manual handling practices. It also includes deploying relevant manual handling training across your organisation to guide employees as required. This article explains what manual handling is and the purpose of manual handling training.
What is manual handling?
Manual handling is defined as any transporting or supporting of weight by hand or bodily force. This may include activities such as pulling, pushing, lifting, putting down, carrying, or moving a load. These activities are important in carrying out a business procedure but might also pose a threat to the health and safety of employees.
What is manual handling training?
Manual handling is not only limited to factories and warehouses. It can also be present in offices and other workplaces. The threats to human health and safety caused by a manual handling activity need to be addressed to provide all employees with a safe and healthy work environment.
Manual handling training should be provided to reduce the risks associated with manual handling activities in workplaces. It helps educate employees and their supervisors on how to perform their jobs efficiently and utilise available processes, aids or technology to make their tasks safer.
What is the purpose of a manual handling training course?
Manual handling training helps employers ensure that their employees are well trained in the principles and practices of safe manual handling. This helps employees and employers understand the risks associated with manual handling and how to avoid or reduce them. Some of the most important purposes of manual handling training includes:
1. Recognise common hazards
Safe manual handling involves safeguarding employees against common hazards. This starts with manual handling training where employees are made aware of some of the hazards they might be dealing with at work and how to avoid them. This also helps at a strategic level and managers can opt to remove unnecessary tasks that involve hazards.
2. Identify roles and responsibilities
Every employee and employer are bound by a set of roles and responsibilities that they need to perform for a business to succeed. Not following these rules can lead to poor results. Manual handling training can help everyone identify and fulfil their roles and responsibilities and ensure a safe and healthy workplace.
Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment Control (HIRAC) is a process of hazard management in the workplace. It helps identify common hazards and assess the risks associated with them. This then leads to elimination or reducing these risks. The hazards can be biomechanical and postural, physical environment and workplace design, mechanical, electrical, chemicals and toxicity, biological and human, organisational and procedural arrangements etc. Risk assessment involves determining the likelihood and consequences of a hazard. Risk control involves immediate actions, isolation of hazards, and permanent measures to control risks.
Deploying a simple and effective manual handling incident reporting structure helps address issues at the workplace quickly and ensures employee safety. The reporting processes can be easily conveyed to employees during manual handling training. At a minimum, employees will understand who to contact to have their concerns and risks addressed efficiently.
Regulations for manual handling tasks across industries and businesses require organisations to take steps to ensure their employees are educated to perform their tasks. Providing manual handling training at the workplace helps employers fulfil their compliance requirements and avoid non-compliance risks and costs.
Manual handling training is an important part of the employee training programme. Every employee deserves a healthy and safe workplace. Regardless of the size of your business, you must invest in providing your employees with effective guidance on how to perform their tasks safely and easily.
This article was originally published here.