Eight tips for safely handling and lifting heavy items

When manually handling heavy items, there are numerous health and safety risks involved. By following the eight tips below, these risks can be minimised.

1. Assess the task

Before lifting any item, employees need to assess the weight and distance involved. If the weight is too heavy, it will require more than one person to lift it. If an item has to be carried more than a few yards, always use a trolley.

2. Ask if it can be lifted safely

Before lifting heavy or large items, an employee needs to ask themselves if they can safely lift the item. This will depend on a number of factors, such as how strong they are, environmental conditions and whether they have had safety training for the task.

3. Reduce the risk

Find ways to reduce injury risks. For example, consider whether the item must be manually lifted, whether a forklift could do the job or whether there’s lifting aid equipment available.

4. Change the task

Consider whether the task could be rearranged to minimise risk. If heavy items are stored at heights, place them on lower shelves to make them easier to lift. When moving heavy items on trolleys, decide whether it’s easier to pull or push the trolley.

5. Break up the load

It may be better if a load is broken up into smaller, lighter items. Piling a trolley high with goods makes it quicker to get them to their destination, but it could make the load too heavy. There’s also the danger of obstructing the trolley operator’s view, creating the risk of collisions.

6. Make the environment safe

Unsafe environments have obstructions, steps, twists and turns. Aisles may be too narrow for two trolleys to safely pass, and lighting could be poor. All these factors need addressing before it’s safe to manually move items around the workplace.

7. Plan tasks in advance

Before a new lifting job is performed, assessments and planning are needed. It should be mapped out exactly how the task will be fulfilled. If moving large heavy items in crowded areas, it is advisable to plan to have someone walking in front of the trolley to warn others.

Sometimes, when planning to move a large number of heavy items in busy areas, it may be best to do it when the area is quieter, such as at lunchtime, or earlier or later in the day.

8. Train staff in safe lifting

All employees need training in the safe ways to lift items, including training on good posture, keeping the load close to the body and using the legs and feet, rather than the back.

At Steely Products, we provide equipment for manual handling and storage that is safe to use. Our equipment is made with strong tubular steel, and our quality asters make trolleys easy to push and pull.

For further information about our range of material handling and storage equipment, talk to us or use the contact form below.

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    Posted by Mark
    17th April 2021
    Health & Safety

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