Don’t treat your body like a forklift
Knowing proper lifting techniques is essential. know your limits, and find out what equipment you can use to help you. The HSE provides a wide range of free leaflets to download and print about manual handling. CLICK HERE to see the HSE list of leaflets now.
Damage is cumulative
It’s easy to get caught up in our busy lives and do things to our body that we know is wrong. Nothing may appear wrong, at least not for years. Those aches and pains you’re suffering from right now might actually be due to events from years ago. Whatever you’re doing now, you may not feel the repercussions today, but months or years from now, when you have a noticeable injury, you’ll wonder what happened. Also, damage is cumulative. One event may not have caused you any serious damage, but what it did do was teach you a bad lesson that you could get away with doing stupid things, so that each successive stupid thing built on the damage the first one created.
Many other factors can lead to injury/damage while lifting at work or at home. If you are over weight, if you are not fit, if you are over stressed, if you feel sleepy, if you are unwell or if you have not eaten correctly can cause problems. Even ploughing into a lot of heavy lifting before you have 'warmed up' your body mussels can cause a lot of injuries. The main task that comes under this category for caretakers is clearing snow first thing in the morning.
Your employer should be monitoring manual handling activities and carrying out regular risk assessments. Employees should also assist the employer by providing information. If you find your work has changed or if your personal circumstances have changed (health etc) tell your employer.
If you think your employer is disregarding your health and not carrying out their obligations with manual handling (e.g. asking you to do things beyond your capabilities), speak to your line manager or health and safety representative. If they will not listen, contact your union rep. Employers are legally required to ensure you work in a safe manor and in a safe, healthy environment.
Your employer should offer training to help you to know how to lift things safely.
The HSE provides information about the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (as amended) and it's website offers a number of answers to frequently asked questions. CLICK HERE