Manual handling in construction work

Where it is not possible to avoid manual handling of a load, employers must look at the risks of that task and put sensible health and safety measures in place to prevent and avoid injury.

Manual handling in construction work

The term manual handling covers a wide variety of activities including lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling and carrying. Good posture and lifting techniques can help reduce the risks, but research indicates that making changes to workplace design is the most effective way to prevent manual handling injury.

Regularly lifting, carrying or handling materials and items can cause serious injuries. The result of poor manual handling techniques can lead to injuries in the back, arms, knees and other body parts. Manual handling injuries can have serious implications for the employer and the person who has been injured. They can occur almost anywhere in the workplace and heavy manual labour.

Statistics show that handling is the most common over 7-day injury in the construction industry and accounts for over 1.2 million working days lost (UK).  To help prevent manual handling injuries in the workplace you should avoid such tasks as far as possible. However, where it is not possible to avoid handling a load, employers must look at the risks of that task and put sensible health and safety measures in place to prevent and avoid injury.

Construction sites have many different materials that need assembling or moving from one place to another. For any lifting activity always take into account:

  • Individual capability
  • Work organization
  • the nature of the load

Most manual handling injuries can be prevented by designing the task to minimize risk. So measures to reduce the risk include:

  • Lighten loads
  • Reduce bending, twisting, reaching movements
  • use mechanical assistance e.g trolleys and forklifts
  • Use team lifting.

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