Lead Forensics

Manual handling injuries among top employer liability cases

According to analysis by legal firm Weightmans, manual handling is the third most common reason for employer liability claims, after slips/trips/falls at number one, and crush/trap collisions in second place.

Manual handling injuries occur for several reasons. For example, employees may be asked to lift weights that exceed manual handling guidelines, or accidents may occur due to working with broken or inadequate equipment. Poor or little training in manual handling procedures can also put staff at risk.

Many injuries occur in warehouses where goods are mainly moved manually using equipment such as furniture trolleys, box trolleys and mobile tables.

Employers can take many steps to improve the health and safety of workers engaged in manual handling activities. Jim Byard and Peter Forshaw of Weightmans suggest that employers focus on staff training and providing information. Staff compiling risk assessments may need their skills upgrading.

Poor documentation is a key reason why employers lose compensation claims cases, according to lawyers. This includes inadequate risk assessment documents, poor records of equipment inspections and weak process documents. In some cases, documents existed but were not retained.

It was also found that employers had not always listened to worker concerns about safety problems, and not all employee complaints were fully documented.

Ideally, every safe working system required for manual handling operations should have established procedures with written guides that document every component of the process. A copy should be given to every employee engaged in manual handling systems.

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