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Manual Handling

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:

Manual Handling Policy

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.