Heavy load: A trainer’s guide to manual handling essentials

Liftishutterstock_121022206ng. It’s not complicated, is it? You pick something up and put in back down again. Most of us have been doing it since we were a few months old. Yet incredibly, more than a third of all workplace injuries which result in someone being off work for more than three days are caused by poor manual handling. So what’s going wrong?

Whether you work in occupational safety or not, manual handling affects everyone – after all, we all have to lift things and none of us want to suffer from muscular injuries. Not only that, but if you own a business then you have a duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of your employees and other people who might be affected by your business.

Obviously as an employer, you don’t want to see anyone hurt. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that aside from protecting your workers, applying correct movHealth and safety equipmenting and handling techniques can have multiple benefits to your business – increased profits, reduced sickness absence and a happier, more productive workforce.

So where do you fit in as a trainer?

An important aspect to consider is that the training must be fully comprehensible to everyone. In other words, everyone present must understand what you mean and be able to put that knowledge into practice.   Naturally, there may be a few barriers to this – everyone has a different learning style and attitude towards learning. Plus, there are other issues such as accents, language and pace to consider.

To ensure these barriers are overcome and the training is fully understood, it is imperative that the learning is assessed. This can be done in a number of ways such as tests, feedback forms and/or question and answer sessions.

Ensuring that the training is effective is fundamental

However, this can often present a challenge. After all, because everyone has performed manual lifting, everyone thinks they are doing it correctly. The reality is that the only people who naturally lift correctly are very small children. As we get older we ‘unlearn’ this and develop our own, flawed ways of lifting.

Manual Handling Training helps reduce Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs), which are the most common workplace injuries in the UK. An estimated 11.6 million working days a year in the UK are lost to MSDs.

Preventing MSDs is beneficial to individuals both in and out of work. Obviously, absenteeism can have a negative impact on income, but MSDs also prevent people from fully enjoying their social lives and taking part in many activities.

Keep it fresh

It’s also important to remember that Manual Handling Training isn’t a one stop shop. Just as imiStock_000009770345Smallportant as the initial training, is the subsequent refresher training and follow-up sessions. Despite being a legal requirement, refresher training can be a tough ‘sell’ to employees. After all, who wants to undergo the same training twice?

The answer to this problem is to make the follow-up training more interesting and interactive. Try introducing fun elements such as quizzes and team exercises. You can even construct a manual handling obstacle course!

However you choose to do it, the refresher training is a vital part of Manual Handling. It can demonstrate that you are going beyond your competitors in providing a safe working environment.

Now read this

What is Manual Handling?

7 super tips for safer patient handling

Manual Handling (HSE Advice)

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