Lead Forensics

Safety training expert wants more manual handling risk assessments

According to Matt Powell-Howard, Head of Product Development at the health and safety trainer NEBOSH, many manual handling injuries could be prevented through better risk assessments.

Manual handling is one of the leading causes of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). In most warehouses, workers manually handle items, lifting them on and off picking trolleys, storage trolleys and shelving. While most organisations provide some training on manual handling, Powell-Howard says that not enough attention is paid to risk assessment. Risk assessment can identify areas where manual handling can be reduced and can provide information on the best type of staff training.

Data published by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) reveals that of the 470,000 workers that suffered from MSD from 2020 to 2021, only 162,00 were new cases. Powell-Howard believes a significant number of workers have cumulative trauma that is stressing their bodies. A small movement such as sneezing or bending down to tie a shoelace can be enough to cause extra damage to an already stressed body.

A robust risk assessment understands the health and safety risks of the manual handling processes and seeks to reduce any risks. Quality regular safety training and guidance is required. All strategies designed to reduce MSD risks should be regularly assessed for their effectiveness. Any workers that suffer from MSD should be regularly checked by medical professionals, and quality warehouse equipment should be used.

NEBOSH has partnered with the HSE to provide a one-day training course that teaches practical ways to assess and manage the risks of manual handling.

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