If your job involves manual handling or heavy lifting, you can be at risk of injury if your employer hasn’t followed the necessary health and safety regulations. Approximately 50% of all workplace injury at work claims involve manual handling or a heavy lifting injury.
Back injuries are the most common, but many manual handling claims also involve injury to other parts of the body, including fractures and work related musculoskeletal disorders. Manual handling claims do not just involve heavy lifting injuries. Injuries can be caused by pushing, twisting, pulling or by awkward posture. Also important is how long you have to carry items, how far they have to be carried and whether you have to lift items from floor level, or above shoulder level off shelving units.
There is a higher risk of sustaining injury at work due to heavy lifting in certain workplaces, including building sites, farms, airports, factories and warehouses. However, other workplaces can also have dangers relating to heavy lifting and manual handling, such as shops, offices, hospitals and people working as delivery drivers. Most working environments will have some risks related to manual handling.
Where suitable equipment can be used (i.e. forklift trucks, trolleys, etc.) they should always be utilised to lower the risk of injury. If it is not possible to use such equipment it is important to carry out a thorough risk assessment and ensure relevant training is given to all employees.
There are many potential hazards in the workplace that can give rise to a manual handling and heavy lifting claims, including:
- Lifting objects that are too heavy.
- Repetitive lifting.
- Inadequate training.
- Inadequate manpower.
- Inadequate lifting equipment.
- Heavy lifting from height, i.e. high warehouse shelves.
- Heavy lifting around hazardous objects, e.g. spilled liquids.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics show that in 2013/14, 24% of workplace injuries reported were in relation to heavy lifting and manual handling.
All employers have a duty to protect their employees and minimise the risk of injury. They should carry out a full review of any tasks that require manual handling or heavy lifting and remove any which are not necessary. They should also reduce the risks of sustaining injury as a result of lifting or moving goods and objects as much as possible.
It is also important that employees follow any instructions or guidelines set out by their employer and that they report any procedure or practices that they believe to be dangerous and could cause injury.
Workers who sustain serious injury may be unable to continue with their current job, which could have a huge impact upon their lives and future job prospects. This can result in financial losses to an individual and their family. Injury at work compensation claims can help ease these financial losses and help you get your life back on track.