Manual Handling of People – What You Need to Keep in Mind
Following the right procedures for manual handling of people is essential to the health and well-being of the carer and the person being moved. Unfortunately, many nurses, carers and others who care for others are subject to injury when they are moving and handling other people.
For example, those who care for the ill or disabled will sometimes have to help that person get in or out of bed, sit up in bed, use the toilet, sit in a chair, stand up, walk or get up from the floor after a fall. Lifting another person is dangerous, as the other person is likely to be too heavy for you to lift safely. Poor practices when moving and handling can result in back pain, musculoskeletal disorders and accidents that can injure both the person being moved and the employee. More than a million people in the UK who work as carers experience back injuries.
These injuries can cause the employee to have to take time off from work to heal from their injuries and can take a very long time to heal. Also, the person being moved can experience discomfort and a loss of dignity. The patient can also experience damage to their skin, as well as neck and shoulder injuries, cuts and bruises.
Reducing the Risks of Manual Handling
How the risk of accident and injury in the workplace be reduced? Here are some import things to keep in mind.
Health and Safety Training
All employees who are involved with handling others should receive the appropriate health and safety training for their position, so that they can learn the correct techniques. The trainer should take the time to learn about the responsibilities of workers and how they are working, so that they can understand the types of environments they are operating in. This will help the trainer to offer site-specific guidance for reducing the risk of injury when lifting and handling people.
Investigation of All Accidents
If an injury does occur in the workplace due to incorrect manual handling procedures, it is important to investigate this accident thoroughly. Employers should collect all information about what the employee was doing at the time and how their actions lead to the accident and the injury. The accident provides an opportunity to learn a lesson about what went wrong and how it can be avoided in the future.
Can Mechanical Handling Be Used?
Take a close look at the handling task and determine whether or not the manual handling can be replaced with a mechanical alternative. For example, instead of employees at a hospital lifting people out of gurneys and into beds, could there be a harness that could manually lift them instead? This would eliminate the risk of employees injuring themselves.
Of course, it is important to remember that mechanical lifting aids will eliminate many handling risks, but they will also introduce risks of their own that will also need to be risk assessed.
Working Together as a Team
An adult person is too heavy for most other adults to lift, so team handling will help to lighten the load. Your staff should know that they never have to lift someone on their own if they are not physically capable of doing so. When working together to move or lift someone, co-ordination is key. The employees involved should be around the same build and height and they should designate one person to give instructions. Everyone should lift, stop and place the person down at the same time.
These are just a few important things to keep in mind, so that you can promote the safe manual handling of people in the workplace.