Health and Safety; A Pain in the Neck?

Written by on October 28, 2012 in Career - No comments | Print this page


Yes, there’s no doubt about it, health and safety can be a pain in the neck.  It can also be a pain in the back, as when it comes to reported injuries rather a large amount of them are spinal; thanks to manual handling.  Well over a third of ‘over three day’ injuries relate to injuries connected to handling accidents and, as we all know, accidents are largely avoidable.  Good manual handling practice in the work place can help to reduce not only the injuries themselves, perhaps the most important point, but also reduce the time taken of work thanks to those injuries.

Risky Businesses

Injuries related to manual handling, or poor manual handling practices, can take place in any workplace.  Farms, hospitals, warehouses, offices, retail premises, leisure facilities – the list goes on.  There are probably no workplaces where some form of handling is not involved and this means that, for employers, ensuring that good practices are in place (and, more importantly, in use) is essential.


It should seem obvious but without a sensible assessment it’s easy to overlook areas of risk.  Completing regular risk assessments helps to establish what process and equipment may cause handling problems and injuries; while consulting with managers and staff should also be a regular task.  Those involved in the day to day running of your business are usually best placed to establish the common areas of risk.

Whose responsibility?

Training is essential at all levels in your company.  The responsibility for health and safety ultimately lies with the business owner, but all employees have a responsibility under the legislation to ensure their own, their colleagues, their contractors and their visitors’ safety while at work.  Training should be a priority for all members of staff and should form part of the induction process for new workers (and temporary workers), while regular refreshers should also be considered.

To Move or Not to Move – and What With?

When assessing risks, you should consider whether equipment or items that pose a risk do need to be moved at all.  If it’s possible to avoid moving heavy items you’ll eliminate the risk fairly quickly.  Where it’s not possible – and this is often the case – it’s important to ensure that there are sensible precautions in place to avoid the risk of injury.  The most obvious way to do this is to consider the type of equipment that is available to help moving heavy items.  Mechanising the moving process has its own risks but radically reduces the danger of injury.

Suitable equipment includes sack trucks, conveyers, electric powered lifts and pallet trucks.  Each of these is suitable to specific tasks, and in many workplaces the most suitable solution for carrying heavy objects on a regular basis will be the sack truck.  Consistent training, suitable equipment, regular risk checks and consulting with your workers and managers will all help to reduce the chance of injury to your employees, keeping your business healthier and your staff safe and active.

This is a guest post.  From a sack trolley to conveyers and forklifts there are range of mechanised solutions to help reduce the risk of manual handling injuries – which can be good for your staff and your business.

Image courtesy of mrpuen /


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