Manual handling - are you at risk of injury?

Manual handling – keep yourself injury-free

Manual handling comes with the territory for contractors and labourers. There will always be heavy items that need moving, or bags that need shifting. Almost a third of accidents at work involve manual handling. Personal suffering, loss of working time and lost production are all consequences of work-related accidents, so it’s important to protect yourself and your colleagues.

While the actual weight of any load you’re carrying is probably the biggest factor in whether it will cause you harm, there are a number of others to consider:

  • How large is the item?
  • Is the item difficult to grasp or unstable?
  • Is the task too strenuous?
  • Does the task involve awkward movements?
  • Are you working in an environment lacking sufficient space?
  • Are the floors slippery, uneven or unstable?
  • Are you working in extreme temperatures?
  • Is the lighting poor?


of accidents at work involve manual handling


work-related musculoskeletal disorder cases in 2016/17

8.9 million

working days lost due to work-related musculoskeletal disorders in 2016/17

2,500 per 100,000

workers within the construction industry have musculoskeletal disorders

If appropriate steps aren’t taken to make sure manual handling is done safely and correctly, there are many possible negative health effects including fatigue, muscle strain, and cuts and bruises. Lifting, carrying and handling materials on site can cause serious injuries, but it shouldn’t be an inevitable part of your work. With our tips, learn how to keep yourself and those around you safe.

Make health and safety a priority

1. Always wear full PPE

The proper safety gear, including hard hat and steel toe boots will make sure you’re as safe as you can be on site.

2. Be smart

Don’t take on loads which are too heavy. If you can split the load with another worker, or take it in a couple of trips rather than one, your body will thank you. It should go without saying that anyone with existing pain or injury shouldn’t take on heavy lifting.

3. Equip yourself

Where possible, introduce powered or mechanical handling equipment. If you can, use hoists or cranes to lessen the load on you or your labourers.

4. Stay organised

If a manual handling task is particularly heavy or intense, it should be carried out by as many people as necessary. Handlers or labourers should take frequent breaks from the task.

Stay safe

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