When dealing with heavy goods as a business, more things can go wrong. There are numerous hazards present that can cause harm to staff and your resources, so reinforcing good health and safety standards is in your business’s best interests.
UNISON reports that one in three accidents in the workplace are caused by improper manual handling. Employers are legally required to reduce the risk of accidents taking place in the workplace to the lowest level practicable.
Poor lifting technique, a lack of training or poorly maintained equipment can result in serious injuries that can be life-changing for your staff. The most common manual handling injuries associated with lifting heavy goods include musculoskeletal disorders, back and neck problems, and fractures. Those working in construction, agriculture, transportation and storage industries are most at risk.
Employee injury and lost workdays can be largely avoided when the right training and awareness are in place. This can save your business money in the long run and improves employee motivation and compliance.
Any equipment used to assist in handling heavy goods must be properly assessed and maintained. Thorough inspections need to take place for larger equipment such as cranes and hoists once a year at a minimum to ensure that it complies with current health and safety standards.
The same goes for lifting fittings and accessories. Buckles, chains and shackles like the ones from RS need to be replaced regularly to ensure that they can support the required load. This should take place every six months to be on the safe side.
Employee training is critical to raising awareness and reducing the risk of injury. A comprehensive Health and Safety training program should cover all aspects of handling and transporting heavy goods, including manual handling and machinery operation.
Staff should be trained on how to use safe lifting techniques, how to conduct a proper risk assessment and identify ways of reducing risk. This involves considering whether the item needs lifting at all or if a lifting aid is necessary.
All heavy objects are a hazard, but sometimes mechanical lifting is required. This is likely the case when a load is above 25kg or needs to be lifted above head height. Employees operating any lifting equipment should be fully certified and keep thorough logs of use.
Goods should be securely attached to equipment with the required accessories and the path the load will take must be mapped out in advance.
Heavy machinery should undergo weekly checks and more extensive examinations every few months to ensure the correct function of safety features. This will depend on the type of work equipment and the conditions to which it is exposed.