Manual handling operations are the physical handling of loads without he assistance of equipment such as a forklift truck, etc. These operations involve any transport or support of a load, including the lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving of a load or by body force. This includes pulling on a rope or lever, as well as directly handling the load, and also the intensional dropping or throwing of a load, whether into a receptacle or from one person to another. However, operating the starting handle of a vehicle or pulling on a rope to secure the load on a vehicle is not manual handling.
Manual handling arrangements are described below:
Good handling technique:
- Stand reasonably close to the load, feet hip-width apart, one foot slightly forward pointing in the direction you are going.
- Bend your knees and keep your back straight.
- Get a secure grip on the load.
- Breathe in before lifting as this helps to support the spine.
- Keep the load close to your body.
- Do not carry a load that obscures your vision.
- Lift slowly and smoothly.
- Avoid jerky movements.
- Avoid twisting your body when lifting or carrying a load.
- When lifting to a height from the floor, do it in two stages.
- When two or more people lift a load, one person must take control to co-ordinate the lift.
Remember : Bad manual handling techniques cause injury.
Considerations for manual handling:
- Use mechanical handling methods, if possible, e.g. forklift trucks or pallet trucks, etc.
- Know your capabilities; only tackle those jobs that you can handle.
- Ask for help if you need assistance.
- Make sure there is a clear walkway with good lighting to the work area.
- Where possible, establish the weight of the load before lifting.
- Wear gloves to protect against cuts and puncture wounds.
- Wear safety footwear to protect from falling loads.
- Carry out a trial lift by rocking the load from side to side then try lifting it slightly to get a 'feel' for it.