This week is the BackCare Awareness for Carers week, raising awareness for the 70% of the UK’s unpaid carers who now suffer from back pain. These carers are at a greater risk of developing chronic pain, which can become a life-long issue for most.
You may not be a carer but it’s the perfect time to touch upon back pain at work, as it occurs in any industry.
One of the biggest causes of back injury at work is Manual handling. Manual handling relates to the moving of items either by lifting, lowering, carrying, pushing or pulling. There are many factors that can create a risk of injury:
- The weight of the load
- The number of times that you have to pick up or carry an item
- The distance you are carrying it
- Where you are picking it up from or putting it down
- Twisting, bending, stretching or other awkward postures you may have to adopt whilst doing a task.
The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (MHOR) requires employers to manage the risks to their employees. They must:
- Avoid hazardous manual handling operations so far as is reasonably practicable, by redesigning the task to avoid moving the load or by automating or mechanising the process.
- Make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risk of injury from any hazardous manual handling operations that cannot be avoided.
- Reduce the risk of injury from those operations so far as is reasonably practicable. Where possible, provide mechanical assistance, for example, a sack trolley or hoist. Where this is not reasonably practicable then explore changes to the task, the load and the working environment.
This applies to all employees whether they are office or site based.
THSP Risk Management offer manual handling training courses that will teach your employees how to assess the risk, avoid injury and lift correctly. What’s more, our annual retained service, Business Safe provides you with a library of Risk Assessments including manual handling and our consultants will be able to answer any questions that you might have.
Download our free manual handling poster and display it around your premises/site/office to help remind you and your team about safe manual handling. Click here to download.