What is manual handling?

What is manual handling?

Hello there, this is Goke Akingbade (your Safety Guide) here again with another interesting topic of discussion.  We stated last time that manual handling refers to any transporting or supporting of a load(either by pushing, lifting, holding, putting down ,pulling or carrying of the load).

The Effect of posture on manual handling procedures.

Manual handling involves muscular work. There are majorly two types of muscular work, they are:

Static work: this involves maintaining a posture (holding the body or part of the body in a fixed position), thus making certain skeletal muscles stay contracted.

Dynamic work: this is when moving body parts, active skeletal muscles contract and relax rhythmically.

The difference between these two types is shown in the following illustration:when you carry boxes, your arm muscles perform static work in holding the boxes, while your leg muscles carry out dynamic work in walking.Static as well as dynamic work can cause fatigue and lead to injuries. It is very important that manual handling should therefore be carried out as much as possible in a neutral posture.

Posture is the position of your body (including your arms and legs) while you are working. Youre working in a bad (constrained, awkward or poor) posture when your joints must be held beyond their comfortable, neutral position, and close to the extreme end of their maximum range of movement. In a constrained posture, muscles can produce less force than in a more extended, comfortable one. This implies that muscles will get tired faster in awkward postures, even when the work activity does not require high muscle forces. Also, the mechanical load on the spine and joints is higher in these postures than in comfortable ones.

The Effect of the work environment on manual handling.

The following characteristics of the work environment may increase the risk of back injury:

The Space available:A lack of space to carry out manual handling may lead to inappropriate or awkward body postures and dangerous imbalance in the loads.

Floor :Handling loads on different working levels or on floors that are slippery, uneven or unstable (such as working platforms or fishing boats) may increase the risk of accidents and back injury.

Climate:The physical climate (temperature, humidity and ventilation) may affect the risk of back injury. Heat makes you feel tired, and sweat makes it hard to hold tools, resulting to requiring more force. Cold can make your hands numb, making it hard to grip objects.

Lighting :Inadequate lighting may increase the risk of accidents when handling loads.It may also make you work in awkward positions to see clearly what you are doing. 

The individual:There are also some individual factors that can influence the risk of back injury:

Experience, training and familiarity with the job (for example, new episodes of low back pain are common in the first year of employment).

Age (the risk of low back disorders increases with the number of years at work: the first episode of low back pain occurs in most people when they reach the age of 30)

Physical dimensions and capacity of the worker (height, weight and strength, etc.)

Personal lifestyle (smoking may, for example, increase the risk of low back disorders)

History of back disorders (this is a predictor of future back injuries).The willingness to use personal protective equipment (for example, clothing and footwear).

Risk assessment of manual handling activities.

Employers are required to assess the health and safety risks resulting from working tasks and activities, including manual handling. A risk assessment is a careful examination of what in the work could cause harm to people. It can then be decided whether sufficient precautions have been taken, or whether it is necessary to do more to prevent harm. The challenge is to eliminate, or at least reduce, the potential for accidents, injury or ill health that arise from working activities and tasks.

Simple steps can be followed to carry out an effective risk assessment in the workplace:

Look for the hazards that could cause accidents, injuries or ill health, taking into account the load, the task, the environment and the operatori

Decide who might be harmed and how: evaluate the potential consequences of the hazards

Decide whether the existing precautions are adequate or whether more should be done: find ways to reduce the risk

Monitor the risks, and review preventive measures.

Proper Lifting technique:You should adopt the following technique when lifting the load:

Put your feet around the load and your body over it (if this is not feasible, try to keep your body as close possible to the load and in front of it).

Use the muscles of your legs when lifting

Keep your back straight

Pull the load as close as possible to your body

Lift and carry the load with straight arms.

This is where we will be stopping for today, so till I come your way again, this is Goke Akingbade (your Safety Guide ) wishing you a fruitful weekend.For your health and safety documentation, trainings and seminars. Please contact safetygsolutions@outlook.com  or 07081101064.

What is manual handling?

What is Manual handling?

Hello there, this is Goke Akingbade ( your Safety Guide) bringing another interesting topic of discussion. We will considering manual handling today.
Manual handling refers to any transporting or supporting of a load by one or more workers. It includes the following activities: lifting, holding, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving of a load.
Manual handling is also sometimes called ‘manual material handling’ (MMH).
Manual handling occurs in almost all working environments (factories, warehouses, building sites, farms, hospitals, offices etc). It can include lifting boxes at a packaging line, carrying of construction materials, pushing carts and trolleys, handling patients in hospitals, and cleaning.
Young workers reportedly are the most exposed of all age groups.
A sectoral breakdown of rates of exposure to manual handling shows that workers in agriculture, construction, hotels and restaurants are most likely to be exposed to heavy loads (68%, 64% and 48% respectively), followed by workers in the sectors of manufacturing and mining, wholesale and retail trade (close to 42%), and transport and communications (35%).

The possible negative health impacts of manual handling
Manual handling can lead to fatigue, injuries of the back, neck, shoulders, arms or other body parts. Two groups of injuries may result from manual handling:
• Cuts, bruises, fractures etc, due to sudden, unexpected events such as accidents
• Damage to the musculoskeletal system of the body (muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, joints, blood vessels and nerves) as a consequence of gradual and cumulative wear and tear through repetitive manual handling. These injuries are called ‘musculoskeletal disorders’ (MSDs)and can be divided into 3 groups:
o Neck and upper limb disorders
o Lower limb disorders
o Back pain and back injuries.

What makes manual handling hazardous?
There are several factors that make manual handling hazardous, and increase the risk of injury. These are called risk factors. The risk factors, particularly for back injury, are related to 4 aspects of manual handling: the load, the task, the environment and the individual.1,5

The load
The risk of back injury increases during lifting, carrying, pushing and pulling of loads, if the load is:
• Too heavy
There is no exact weight limit for manual handling. A weight of 20 to 25 kg is heavy to lift for most people, especially if the load is handled several times in an hour. Note that pushing or pulling often imposes less loading on the body than lifting or carrying.
• Too large
One basic rule for lifting and carrying is to keep the load as close to the body as possible. In order to get a broad load close to the body, the worker has to open the arms to reach and hold the load. The arm muscles cannot produce force when reaching as effectively as with the arms held in close. Thus, the muscles will get tired more rapidly when handling a large bulky load.
• Difficult to grasp
Loads that are difficult to grasp can result in the object slipping, causing sudden movement of the load. Gloves usually make grasping more difficult than with bare hands. Providing the objects with handles or using aids for gripping (e.g. when carrying plate material) reduces the load on the worker. Loads with sharp edges or of dangerous materials (solids or liquids) can injure workers, especially in the event of a collision.
• Unbalanced, unstable or if the contents can move
With unbalanced objects, it is difficult to hold the centre of gravity of the load close to the middle of the body. This results in uneven loading of muscles, and fatigue. Unstable or moving content, such as a liquid, causes uneven loading of the muscles and sudden movements of the load can make workers lose their balance and fall.
• Difficult to reach
Loads that can only be reached by outstretching the arms, or by bending the trunk will require more muscular force. The spine may easily be hurt if the trunk is bent or twisted while lifting.

The task
The risk of back injury increases if the task:
• Is too strenuous
Tasks may be very demanding if they have to be carried out too frequently or for too long with insufficient rest time (e.g. continuous lifting or carrying for long distances.
This is where we will be stopping for today,so till I come your way again,this is Goke Akingbade ( your Safety Guide) signing off.
working speed is imposed by a process which cannot be altered by the worker).
• Involves awkward postures or movements
Working with a bent and/or twisted trunk, raised arms, bent wrists, a bent neck and turned head increases the risk of back injury and should be avoided, as should twisting, turning and bending movements of the trunk, overreaching, sudden movements and repetitive handling.