Health and safety at work


12.3 million working days were lost to musculoskeletal disorders last year, 1.1 million of which were made worse by their current or past work.

Manual handling is the transporting or supporting of loads by hand or bodily force. Avoiding injury  by learning and understanding good manual handling  makes sound business sense.

As a registered osteopath with twenty years experience I am very well suited to identifying all significant risks of injury from an anatomical and physiological standpoint and then pointing the way to practical improvements.

Because of the differences between employees in height, stature and competence ,It is preferable to carry out individual risk assessments and tailor make a plan for each individual to work to.

The aim is to avoid lifting operations that involve risk of injury. Where it is not practicable to do this the individual should be able to assess each operation and reduce the risk of injury to the lowest level reasonable, thus improving the task, the working environment and reducing the load weight as appropriate.

When workers are given appropriate training, it is important to ensure that supervisors and other more senior staff are also aware of the good practices that have been recommended, and that they regularly encourage the workforce to adopt appropriate techniques and ensure that they continue to be used.

An assessment  involves watching an individual in their workplace and then offering advice to minimise the risks. The employee will be taken through a series of steps to change their working practice and thus reduce further risk.

At all stages the employee is involved in the process, as often they  are able to tell first hand what the risks are. A written report  is signed by the employee, and he is given a copy to take home.

Employers should keep sufficient records to show who has been trained. There should be a planned training program to ensure all staff  receive basic training, with updates as required.New employees should receive training as close to the start of the job as possible.

Employees in sedentary jobs are just as much at risk from bad seating, and badly designed work stations. They too can benefit from a full work assessment.

Effective training has an important part to play in reducing the risk of manual handling injury. It should not be regarded as a substitute for a safe system of work.