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Manual handling injuries are extremely common in the workplace and can cause serious problems to an employee's back and limbs. This is unfortunate, especially because they can easily be avoided with the right training.

It's an employer's responsibility to make sure workers receive proper training, and some extra precautions may apply depending on the workplace and tasks in question, but here are some key points of advice that could be crucial in making sure manual handling duties are undertaken without sustaining injury.

Key points to help avoid manual handling injury

  • Ask yourself if there is any way you can avoid lifting the object or use apparatus to help you lift it in a safer way.
  • When deciding whether the object is appropriate for you to lift, remember to take into account your individual capability, the nature of the load, and the environmental conditions.
  • Ask a friend or colleague to help.
  • Test the weight of the object before lifting or moving it.  Tip the object to determine weight.  Don’t let the size of an object fool you into thinking it is light.
  • Get a tight secure grip on the object before you attempt a lift.  Handles may help you lift certain objects. The heaviest side of the load should be next to the body.
  • Use your legs and arms to lift – not your back. Good posture is key. Slightly bending your back, hips, and knees is better than stooping or squatting.
  • Get as close as possible to an object before lifting.  Never extend your arms when lifting or lowering a heavy object.
  • Carry the object in the space between your shoulders and waist, putting less strain on your back muscles. Keep the object close to the body for as long as possible.
  • Use slow and smooth movements.  Avoid the temptation to move sharply and use momentum to facilitate the move.
  • Keep your body facing the object when attempting to move it. Your shoulders should be kept level and facing the same direction as your hips. If you try to twist, you may hurt your back.
  • If you need to turn, do so by moving your feet without twisting your body.
  • Don’t arch your back.
  • Try to reduce carrying distances wherever possible. If you need to move the load a long way, be prepared to take breaks. Plan out rest places beforehand where you can place the object down on a table or bench.

Your rights at work

Employers have a duty of care to look after their employees' health and wellbeing while they're at work, and this includes providing them with adequate health and safety training. That's why, if you work in a role that requires you to lift heavy objects, the above advice should have already been made clear in your workplace, and your employer needs to ensure all precautions are taken to prevent an incident. If they haven't and you are injured as a result, then you may be able to claim compensation, even after having received training.

Compassionate lawyers to help with lifting injury claims

At Thompsons, we're passionate about helping workers who've been injured in workplace accidents receive a fair amount of compensation.

We hope compensation will enable you to be better equipped to cope with your injuries and, in time, help you move on with your life.

So, if you've suffered a lifting injury at work, you may be entitled to compensation even if you have been given manual handling or other training. For straightforward, honest advice regarding making a claim, call our specialist lawyers on 0800 0891331 and we will advise if you have a valid claim for compensation.

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