Manual handling relates to lifting, pulling, pushing, or carrying heavy load items and this is more common in healthcare, construction, manufacturing, and agricultural industries. Therefore, the risk of getting severely injured is high in these sectors. It’s important for both employers and employees to prevent these incidents, hence, many companies offer manual handling training to minimize any risk of injuries.
The most common injuries related to manual handling are musculoskeletal disorders, knee and joint injuries, and spinal cord injury as well. In worst-case scenarios, these injuries can sometimes even lead to fatalities.
Consequently, having some essential skills required for manual handling and honing them can keep risks at bay. In this article, we’ve listed the skills you need for manual handling. Read on!
1. Risk Assessment Skills
Assessing risk before manual handling of items can prevent risks and allow you to look for safer, better alternatives. In some circumstances, it may be even better for you to completely avoid risk by opting for mechanical handling. For instance, if the equipment is too heavy, companies may be better off with specialized equipment for loading and unloading.
Having excellent risk assessment skills can allow workers to compare the consequences and probability of risk, therefore, choosing the right risk mitigation strategies during work.
2. Spatial Awareness Skills
While at the workplace, laborers usually are too focused on the manual handling-related work that they trip and fall and cause a major injury to themselves. Although this kind of injury is not directly related to manual handling, it’s still a result of it.
Therefore, it’s important for workers to hone their spatial awareness skills and be well-aware of their surroundings and any obstacles. Instead of looking at the load while carrying it, it’s crucial to look at the ground and the surroundings.
Likewise, if it’s nighttime and there’s no arrangement of lights, it’s better not to carry items with zero visibility. If you must work, you should keep a headlight with you or ask the supervisor to make necessary lighting arrangements.
3. Good Judgment and Decision-Making Skills
These skills go hand in hand with risk assessment skills to some extent as assessing risks requires you to plan wisely and take decisions accordingly.
Hence, it’s also vital for workers involved in manual handling that they possess exceptional judgment and decision-making skills because this will allow them to assess the nature of the job and take action to resolve any issues.
A smooth and safe workflow is important for manual handling, and employees should be able to execute the best course of action in a given scenario. For instance, a worker may use a trolley instead of manual handling, where it’s a safer option.
4. Basic First Aid Techniques
It can be either you or your work fellows who can get extremely injured at the workplace, and first aid may help save your life and others. Hence, basic first aid skills are a must to practice and learn.
For example, if someone’s leg is fractured or bleeding heavily, you should be well aware of the bandaging techniques to help the injured person until the health care team arrives.
Furthermore, knowing what to do in a particular kind of injury can also help you save your or others’ condition from worsening.