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The movement of awkward loads

Reduce the risk of injury by using the right equipment

Author: Dee Jones/23 September 2019/Categories: HEALTH & SAFETY, Personal safety at work, WORKPLACE ADVICE, Goods movement

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Human nature often leads us to act in haste but needlessly means we sometimes end up repenting at leisure! We have all tried at one time or other to pick up some awkward load that we wish we hadn’t. Either we end up with a back injury, suffer a fall or damage the load in question. If we had stopped for one minute to ponder what help was at hand, then we might well have saved ourselves from avoidable anguish.

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations of 1992 help to define manual handling; any transporting or supporting of a load (including the lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving thereof) by hand or bodily force. The load can be an object, person or animal and there is a clear ranking of the measures that deal with the associated risks from manual handling as follows:

  • Avoidance of hazardous manual handling operations so far as is reasonably practicable.
  • Assessment any hazardous manual handling operations that cannot be avoided.
  • Reduction of the risk of injury so far as is reasonably practicable.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) highlights something called the MAC tool which was developed to help the user identify any high-risk workplace manual handling activities and it can be used to assess those risks that can become an issue through lifting, carrying and associated manual handling activities. It will enable you to understand, interpret and categorise the risk levels of manual handling activities. It has an easy to understand numerical and a colour-coding score system that highlights where risk is present with manual handling tasks. Download a free copy here.

Once you have established and assessed your manual handling activities you are then able to look at what help is available. Action Handling have 50 years of experience in this field and are best placed to offer great advice when recommending equipment to suit all handling requirements.

Useful equipment that can reduce the risk or strain and injury:

sack truck
Hand trucks and trolleys 
All have individual merits for handling awkward loads, whether lifting or moving boxes, crates, pallets, sheet materials, plant, machine parts, equipment, furniture or components.

dolly
sack truck
Hand dollys and sack trolleys
Office staff can find assistance with these light and easy-to-use tools to help move furniture and office machines around offices. 

glass trolley
Some moving tasks require specialist tools
Like the handling of glass, panels, carpets, manhole covers, doors, pallets and crates.

slings
Moving higher load capacity items
The use of hydraulic, mechanical or electric equipment may be needed. However, there is often still an element of manual handling that is required to facilitate the operation of this equipment and items like slings, chains and ratchet restraints will be very useful if easily to hand.

It is comforting to know that there is no manual handling task that cannot be substituted or assisted by an item of handling equipment, so please consider your options and talk to the experts available.


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