Construction workplace accidents
What is manual handling?
We all carry out manual handling in some way or another. If a person lifts, pushes or pulls something using physical effort, then this is manual handling.
Clearly there are many jobs where it is obvious that manual handling is involved for example in heavy industry, or the building trade but that doesn’t mean someone who works in an office, or school is immune to injury. From repetitive strain injuries to lifting and shifting something, they can occur almost anywhere.
It’s a fact that more than 30% of injuries in the workplace are caused by manual handling and for some people they can unfortunately be irrevocable.
“Manual handling causes over a third of all workplace injuries. These include work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) such as pain and injuries to arms, legs and joints, and repetitive strain injuries of various sorts.” – Tool box manual.
Who is at risk from manual handling injuries?
Those who are at risk from manual handling injuries include care workers, manufacturing staff, agricultural and construction workers but any person in any workplace is at risk of a manual handling injury.
What kinds of injuries can be caused by manual handling?
Back injuries are extremely common and not only in workplaces where heavy lifting is concerned. As well as lifting something that is too heavy, poor posture can result in injuries such as a slipped disc.
There are many ways in which your hands could suffer an injury. It could be that the fingers get trapped between the object you’re carrying and a wall, or when the heavy load sprains the wrist, or the hand gets crushed. The sharp edges of a load could cut you, or if the load is hot you could scald the skin. Because we use our hands for every manual task they are especially at risk of injury.
Muscular strains and sprains are common when you are physically exerting the body and most of us will pull a muscle and it will repair over a matter of days, however, some muscular injuries can cause chronic pain over time.
The term musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) covers any injury, damage or disorder of the joints or other tissues in the upper/lower limbs or the back. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are conditions that affect the nerves, tendons, muscles and supporting structures, such as the discs in your back. They result from one or more of these tissues having to work harder than they’re designed to.
In the UK at the last count an estimated 553,000 workers suffered from musculoskeletal disorders caused or made worse by their current or past work. Approximately 223,000 of these workers suffered from bad back, approximately 233,000 from problems related to upper limbs and neck and approximately 97,000 with lower limb problems.
Slips, trips and falls
Manual handling isn’t directly responsible for slips and trips but they are probably more likely to happen in high risk jobs, such as construction work, where someone might leave a trailing cable or piece of equipment lying around.
Injuries to the foot
If a person is carrying a heavy load there is the possibility it may be dropped on the foot, or maybe a trip will cause a broken toe. There are many ways the feet can be injured in the course of manual handling.
Are employers liable for manual handling injuries?
Employers must ensure that their workers are trained properly in order to minimise the risks. For example they need to know how to lift something properly and be able to identify when an object is too heavy to manually lift.They are also responsible for the maintenance and safety of lifting equipment, for example hoists, platforms, or forklifts. They must also assess whether a person is capable of performing the tasks expected of them.
Manual handling injuries may be caused when
- Employers fail to provide the correct training and guidance.
- Workers are forced to lift weights that are too heavy.
- Employers don’t advise staff on the correct way to lift objects.
- There is no lifting equipment.
- The working environment is not conducive to working and lifting safely.
At Wafer Philips we understand that you may be unsure whether you have suffered a manual handling injury at work but we are always here to advise and if your claim is successful you may find yourself receiving compensation for loss of earnings, private medical treatment, or any therapies you might need now and in the future. Remember, you always have a legal right to claim for injuries that are not your fault.