Over one third of all injuries reported yearly in the UK relate to people lifting or moving loads, whether by hand or with mechanical help. This is an unacceptable number because manual handling training is quick to deliver and very easy to take in – so much of it is common sense that many people intuitively follow the guidelines. The main purpose of manual handling training is to inculcate it so firmly into the trainees’ brain that that automatically adopt the correct posture and also assess each job before beginning.
Think before lifting
Although it is natural to just pick up and lift an item that needs to be moved, it pays to give the task a little thought and also prepare the job thoroughly. If you need to move something to a location out of sight, you should check that the route is unobstructed before beginning. Assuming that the object is of suitable weight and size to make it possible for a one-person lift, you should lift it from a position which enables your legs, not your back to take the strain and carry it as near to your waist as you can. If the parcel is unevenly distributed, carry the heaviest end next to your body. If you need to, lift it in two stages and if you think you may need a rest, prepare a platform when you check the route. All of these things are common sense, but many people only put them together as a task when they have undertaken a safety training course on manual handling.
Manual handling courses are for everyone
There are few jobs that will never ever need something to be lifted, if only infrequently. Office workers may need to move a desk or files; construction workers will be given any number of loads to move; medical staff, even if not normally dealing with patients, may have to lift, hold or move an unconscious person. Many people choose to undertake a manual handling training course of their own volition, simply because they think it will help them in everyday life. Everyone who has ever put their back out doing gardening will understand that. Boss Training has a number of manual handling courses that can be individually tailored to suit the specific tasks that are likely to present, but the main part of any sensible lifting regime is the same whether sacks of potatoes or people are the load.
Anyone who is every likely to lift a heavy load needs to know how much they can manage. You don’t have to be super-fit to move anything, but you do need to know whether you have any specific weak areas. For example, someone who is generally strong and fit but has a weak ankle (perhaps because of a previous injury) will be slightly less able to carry something than someone who has not been injured. You are as strong as your weakest part, and this is something that everyone moving even a small load would do well to remember.