Manual Handling injuries – also known as work related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSD) – account for more than a third of all work related illnesses in the UK. According to statistics from the Labour force Survey, an estimated 8.8 million working days were lost due to WRMSD’s – an average of 16 days lost for each case.
These injuries not only cause considerable pain and discomfort to employees but they also impact the operational effectiveness of a business. The organisation will lose a valuable and skilled employee while they recover from the injury and the company may not be able to fully utilise their skills when they return to work if they are put of lighter duties while they recover fully. And there is the risk of legal action from injury claims.
By law, employers are required to reduce the risk of manual handling accidents at work and, where possible, the need for employees to undertake such work which involves a risk of them being injured. HSE has developed tools to help employers analyse lifting, carrying and team handling (the manual handling assessment charts – MAC tool), and pushing and pulling (the risk assessment of pushing and pulling – RAPP tool) and repetitive upper limb tasks (the Assessment of Repetitive Tasks – ART tool).
Douglas Cameron, Head of Health & Safety at Law at Work, is concerned that not enough attention is paid to manual handling assessment within organization’s and sees the updated HSE guides as an ideal way for companies to make their health and safety assessments more robust.