Many staff need to carry heavy or bulky items during their work day from time to time. All staff are encouraged to be aware of the appropriate way to lift items or to seek assistance with moving items, in order to avoid common injuries such as back strain. Taking unnecessary risks even when lifting smaller items increases your risk of an injury and or developing a long-term muscular problem. View an online video on the best manual handling techniques to ensure you lift smarter, not harder.
Manual handling to save your back
Learning the most effective way to move heavy or bulky objects can help you to avoid one of the most common injuries that occurs in the workplace – hurting your back. View an online filmclip on the best manual handling technique to ensure you lift smarter, not harder.
What you should consider
Common items that are carried can include stacks of documents, exam papers, reams of printer paper, containers of lab equipment and teaching accessories - all of which can be bulky or deceptively heavy. Remember, it is not just the weight of a load that can pose a risk, the factors below should also be considered in order to avoid overexertion and to minimize the risk of injury:
the number of times the load is to be lifted or moved
the person's posture when lifting
the distance the load is to be moved
the design of the work area and layout of the workplace, eg whether the load is to be moved in a restricted space or on an uneven surface
movements, forces and vibration relating to the task
the duration of the task
the systems of work used
whether the load is compact or bulky, and the ease of getting a grip on it.
When significant a load needs to be moved, managers are encouraged to consult the Hazardous Manual Tasks Code of Practice for guidance on how to assess the risk of lifting heavy loads, and a range of options for controlling the risk.
Sitting correctly at your desk for your daily work can also save your back.
The online video library - SafetyHub - contains a collection of videos that will help you to avoid the most common workplace hazards. View the office safety filmclip for tips on how to set up your workstation ergonomically or browse the entire collection of Safetycare’s health, safety and skills videos.