Thirty percent of reported accidents are manual handling accidents. These accidents include transporting and supporting of loads, awkward positioning, and unstable materials that are difficult to hold. It rarely results to death, but accidents like this can end up to major injuries such as fractured back or arm. It also results to damage and loss of construction materials.
Back sprain or strain, which can lead to chronic conditions, is the most common injury. Others include muscular spasms and strains, abrasions and cuts.
In 1974, the Health and Safety at Work act was implemented and required employers to apply safety measures. And because of the increasing risk of injury, the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 was imposed and pointed out that if employers cannot eliminate manual lifting they must at least find a way to reduce it. These accidents were also investigated.
The elimination of risk of such accident lies in the employers and manual handling risk assessment tools.
The directors should take the responsibility of training and educating his subordinates, as well as appointing people to take care of a certain area. Employers should comply with the guidance on regulations regarding manual handling operations. This regulation was revised to update workers and employers with the improvements of knowledge and avoidance of risk of injuries.
To assess manual handling risks, certain tools were developed and factors were considered. These factors include tasks, worker, load and environment. Assessment should be comprehensive and consistent.
Some heavy equipments and tools are advisable because it is safer and can decrease the company’s cost due to accidents. Sites or workplace must be well lit and clean. It should be free from waste, hazardous materials and obstructions. Everybody should observe good housekeeping. Performance and safety kits and devices should be well monitored. Everyone must comply with the control measures and all activities should be carefully planned.
There is also the Manual Handling Assessment Chart (MAC) Tool, which was developed so that workers will be able to identify high risk workplace. Also, this tool is designed to assess the risk factors caused by lifting, carrying and team handling activities. It aims to help workers and employers to interpret and understand the risks, and to categories them according to certain levels.
Manual handling accidents not only cause physical damages to human, it can also cause loss of money, work delays and risks the reputation of the company. A complete application of safety rules and good management will result to effective and productive work environment.