One in every three injuries that workers get comes from poor manual handling techniques. This intimates that not only are manual handling dangers present in virtually even industry and place of work, but also that suitable training and preventative measures are not being supplied and applied comprehensively enough. How you as an employee deal with complex equipment and gear at your workplace is what more or less dictates your manual handling safety and well-being from pulling, pushing and even holding or restraining. Working with heavy and awkward loads can come with great challenges, and high risk of injury.
A good lifting technique and a good posture will make all the difference; both cannot only help reduce the risks greatly, but there has also been a clear indication in research that making a few changes around your workplace design is proven to be the most effective way in the prevention of manual handling injury.
Here are the most commonly occurring workplace injuries that have resulted from poor manual handling techniques:
Exerting a great deal of force in an attempt to carry a load can lead to injuries of the neck, shoulders back, arms or any other body parts. The most common of these injuries is the pulled muscle, if you overexert the muscle or your hand, limb, or even back twists at a wrong angle with the load; you are going to regret having not taking preventive measures.
Keep the load as close to your body as possible. Do not carry too much at once... you can always take another trip and avoid yourself the injury.
Cuts, bruises and fractures are yet another commonly occurring consequence of poorly handled objects. Though cuts and bruises are considerably easier to get, in a few extreme cases injuries can take the form of fractures too. These painful consequences can be as a resultant of an unexpected collision, a slip or even bumping into something.
Before touching the load, look over the whole object to check for sharp protrusions. Even a rough surface can damage the skin through abrasions, and may require protection in the form of gloves or arm coverings. You need a comfortable and firm grip at all times to avoid dropping the load and injuring feet/toes. It is also vital that you make sure you can still clearly see where you are going when you have the load with you... Do not carry so much that it obstructs your vision.
Constantly carrying loads considerable distances and over long periods of time can lead to the damaging of nerves, blood vessels and bones. Your backbone and productivity will be seriously affected, unless you are better able to analyze how to best carry a load. You will need to divide the load's pressure over your body in a way that the pressure does not directly hit a singular point. An evenly distributed load, or a small load is your best chance if you have no other way out of the situation.
Repetitive manual handling with a poor technique over a long period of time is a leading cause of damage to the musculoskeletal system, and can result into damaged muscles, bones and even joints. Eliminating the need for manual handling, or at the very least receiving through manual handling training is the best way to reduce the probability of an employee suffering a manual handling injury.