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The Benefits of Integrating Lifts for Manual Handling Tasks

Every year, a significant number of injuries that lead to workers being unable to work for more than three days are due to manual handling, which involves tasks like moving or supporting loads using hand or bodily force. It is important to recognise that these injuries are not only caused by heavy loads, but also by the repetitive handling of lighter, awkward loads.

Various environments, including manufacturing floors, healthcare facilities, and outdoor delivery routes, face challenges due to manual handling. This wide range of settings emphasises the widespread risk of injuries, which can lead to prolonged periods of inactivity and, in severe cases, permanent disability.

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 were implemented in order to address these risks. Despite the implementation of effective lifting techniques and knowledge about physical limitations, injuries caused by manual handling continue to pose a significant problem. These injuries hinder business operations by reducing productivity and morale, and also result in a significant increase in costs.

Impact on Business According to Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Statistics:

  • 1.7 million workers reported work-related illnesses in 2020.
  • Around 32.5 workdays were lost per incident in 2020/21 due to work-related injuries, with manual handling accounting for 25% of injuries lasting more than seven days.
  • The financial burden of work-related injuries and health issues was estimated at £16.2 billion for the year 2018/19.

Effective Strategies to Reduce Manual Handling Risks:

  • Evaluate Necessity and Safety: Determine whether an object must be moved and if the task can be performed safely where it currently resides. If moving is essential, ensure it’s done following safe manual handling practices.
  • Risk Assessment: Conduct thorough risk assessments as mandated by law. This includes evaluating the tasks, loads, and the working environment:
    • Task Assessment: Consider if tasks require awkward postures or excessive physical effort that could be alleviated with mechanical assistance.
    • Load Evaluation: Assess if the load is heavy, hot, or difficult to manoeuvre, which might necessitate mechanical aid.
    • Environment Review: Identify if the movement takes place in areas prone to hazards such as poor lighting, high traffic, or limited space.
  • Visual Guide and Training: Encourage adherence to best practices through clear visual guides and comprehensive training on safe manual handling.

Integrating Mechanical Aids

Given the high risks and costs associated with manual handling, incorporating mechanical aids like service lifts or goods lifts can be a transformative decision. These tools not only minimise physical strain but also enhance productivity and safety, making them a prudent investment for any business grappling with manual handling tasks.

Addressing the challenges of manual handling through mechanical solutions isn’t just about compliance; it’s about ensuring a safer, more productive workplace. By considering the integration of lifts, businesses can significantly reduce the risk of injuries and foster a more efficient work environment.