Lifting the Burden – Avoiding Manual Handling Injuries in Work
From warehouses to building sites, offices to restaurants; More often than not we all find ourselves lifting something heavy in our workplaces. Jobs which require physical labour are demanding and can indeed leave someone exhausted at the end of a shift. However, with too much weight on your shoulders, one can be left injured when manual handling accidents * occur in the workplace.
What many people involved in manual handling accidents * don’t realise is that you may not be at fault for the manual handling accident * that took place. How is this possible? Well, the accident * may have occurred as a result of contributing negligence from a third party i.e. an employer. Therefore the blame for the accident * lies with them.
Accidents in the workplace * that result from errors in manual handling are common Injuries at work * seen here in Ireland. For years, Tracey Solicitors have helped clients with injuries ranging from mild to major as a result of an accident at work *, caused by manual handling errors.
The most common injuries * we see that result from manual handling accidents include:
- Back Injuries *
- Neck Injuries *
- Sprains *
- Head Injury *
- Wrist Injury *
- Arm and Leg Injury *
Can your employer be at fault when a manual handling accident * has occurred?
As mentioned above the answer is yes!
Although an accident * may occur as a direct result of your own actions or inactions, it still may not be your fault. If negligence has occurred on behalf of your employer that has led to a manual accident *, the blame may indeed lie with them.
When asking clients why they were lifting such objects to begin with, many a times we receive an answer that goes along the lines of “my employer asked me to”. Additionally some clients have sustained injury * as a result from lifting objects without any adequate training being provided prior to engaging in such physical labour.
Other common factors we see contributing to clients sustaining personal injury * due to manual handling accidents * in the workplace include:
- The lifting and manual handling of unsafe loads in the workplace.
- Repetitive strain injuries * where the employee is carrying out the same movement without a break.
- Lifting objects in confined work spaces.
- Inadequate equipment for the carrying out of the task.
- Inadequate manual handling training or the failure to provide any training.
- When lifting a load with co-workers, and the co-worker releases their grip/hold .This resulting in an uneven weight distribution, which may lead to injury.
What Is Manual Handling Training?
If you work in a job that consists of manual and physical labour you should already know the answer to this. If you do not then your employer may have a lot of questions to answer to.
As mentioned, the most common story we find is that clients have not received adequate training in relation to tasks being carried out. Therefore the client is not properly trained to carry out the task. As a result this ultimately causes the client to injure * themselves.
First and Foremost! If you have been working in a company for a period of time and you have not received any training to coincide with the manual tasks you perform, bring it up with your employer straight away!
Manual handing training is training that employees carry out to teach them proper and safe handling techniques whilst working. This training is to be provided by a workers employer before they partake in any physically demanding aspects of a job.
These aspects may include
- Lifting heavy weighted objects
- Stacking Shelves
- Carrying Items
- Pushing Items
- Loading and Unloading items
It goes without saying that the first port of call in avoiding manual handling injuries * is to get adequate training. Without sufficient manual handling training you do not know how too adequately assess’ risks and carry out tasks correctly.
Your employer is responsible to ensure you are adequately trained for the job at hand. They can be held responsible if no employee manual handling was provided on their behalf.
Which leads me on to my next point that …..
Employers should provide and maintain a safe working environment.
Employers are responsible in providing and maintaining a safe and hazard free working environment for their employees in order to prevent accidents * from occurring.
More often than not, manual handling accidents * are avoidable and are caused due as a result of negligence. They can be avoided by addressing the following points in eliminating risks present in the workplace:
- If you feel that certain task possesses risk to your safety: Bring it up with your employer and try come to a solution to eliminate any present risks to your health.
- Check through injury * records that are available. To pinpoint and amend factors/risk in the workplace that contributes to injury *and reoccurring problems. Especially when physical labour is being carried out.
- Monitor and regularly update any risk identification in the workplace to ensure a safe working environment.
Best Practice for employees to avoid injury
Yes, employers have responsibilities to fulfill when it comes to safety in the workplace. However, it goes without saying that employees should always be looking out for their own safety to further prevent the risk of injury *.
When it comes to preventing manual handling accidents remember to always take necessary steps to lighten your load. Engage in carrying out adequate safety measures that reduce the risk of injury *occurring.
Employees can prevent accidents * from happening by taking the following guidelines into account when carrying out jobs which consist of manual handling:
- Make sure that your posture is correct when carrying out tasks.
- When carrying heavy loads always use additional help to aid you such as hand trucks or colleagues to distribute the weight load.
- Make sure the process of lifting objects i.e. from knee level to shoulder height is correct and smoothly done. Do not proceed to lift objects in awkward position that may require you to twist or hunch.
- Do not lift sharp and heavy objects without wearing adequate protection such as gloves industrial boots/shoes.
- Make sure to have a firm and steady grip on a load to avoid dropping items.
- Make sure to take adequate break times when partaking in an activity that involves repetitive lifting. This reduces the risk of exhaustion and repetitive strain injuries from occurring.
At Tracey Solicitors we believe that the work place is for progressing and achieving, not injury *. If you have sustained injury * due to an accident occurring in the workplace that was not your fault, TELL US ABOUT YOUR CASE.
Tracey Solicitors draw on over 30 years of experience as personal injury solicitors * and have the expertise and knowledge to help you navigate the legalities of making a claim without any of the legal jargon attached to it. Our promise is to make law accessible to all.
Personal Injuries * sustained from manual handling without adequate training can cause injury * leading to difficulty carrying out everyday tasks. For a confidential discussion call Tracey Solicitors on +353 1 649 9900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org about your case.
*In contentious business a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.