NCTV Episode 53

Continuing with the series of bitesize health tip videos which can be found here on my YouTube Channel, this episode, includes:-

  • Common associated injuries & how to avoid them
  • A fork lift driver destroying a warehouse
  • Ten top tips when considering technique & posture
  • The Ultimate Warrior
  • What to do in the event of an accident


If you’d prefer to read the content within, rather than watch the video, then feel free to read the transcript, as follows:-

Hello and welcome to NCTV Episode 53 and the aim of this one today is to provide some advice about Manual Handling.

So what is manual handling? It’s defined by current regulations as the transport or support of a load by hand or bodily force which includes lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying, manoeuvring or transporting. The load can be any object, person or animal and can apply to most business types, from brick layers to carers or even dog groomers.

In terms of businesses and employers, there have been some well-established regulations in place for many years now in the UK and failure to comply with these health & safety measures can risk serious injury which would come at great cost to all involved both to the health of the person who injured themselves and in the form of large fines and/or a custodial sentence for the employer so it’s not to be taken lightly, if you pardon the pun!?

Anyway, a few interesting stats for you – It is estimated that 21% of all non-fatal workplace injuries are attributable to manual handling injuries and that one-third of musculoskeletal disorder injuries are also caused through manual handling activities. Also, an estimated 1.6 million working days are lost due to manual handling injuries each year, with 10.8 days lost for each injury on average.

When it comes to injuries associated with manual handling, the most common of these occur to the arms, legs and joints. Back and shoulder strains are very common too, as well as repetitive strain injuries (RSI).

These manual handling injuries can occur almost anywhere although the risk does increase with heavy manual labour, awkward postures, repetitive movements of the arms, legs and back or with having a previous/existing injury.

When thinking about the types of injuries, many people instantly think of the big ones such as the forklift driver on YouTube, crashing into a shelf and knocking the entire contents of the warehouse down on top of him. However, injuries can also be caused by smaller tasks like packing, typing, cleaning or dealing with animals.

When it comes to reducing the instances of injury, the saying an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure definitely comes to mind. In other words, don’t do it if you can avoid it.

If it is unavoidable, be sure to risk assess the situation before jumping straight in to the task to determine what the best, and safest, course of action would be. Some things to consider may be:-

  • Will you need any help?
  • Whether the task could be broken down to smaller, lighter components or into a few different trips?
  • Could you use any lifting equipment, such as a forklift, hoist or conveyor?
  • Is there a way you could reduce the amount of twisting, stooping and reaching to perform the task?
  • Could you minimise the carrying distance, or move any obstacles that may be in your way first?

Once you’ve considered all this, the risk assessment is complete and you’ve established that the manual handling has to be done, then you want to make sure you do it as safely as possible, again to reduce the risk of injury. So, the next stage is to consider your posture and technique with these 10 top tips: –

1) Lifting Position
At the start of the lift, your feet should be shoulder-width apart with one leg slightly forward to maintain balance. Make sure your clothing and footwear are suitable for the task too, as you don’t want to trip on a loose shoelace or have an item of clothing caught on a door handle, causing you to fall or drop the load.

2) Get a good grip
Hold on tight and make sure the load is secure before attempting to lift it. Where possible, try to hug the object as close to your body as you can for as long as you can, as this can give you more purchase than gripping it tightly with just your hands.

3) Keep the load close to your waist
Keeping the object at waist-level heaviest side of the load next to your body, should help with an even weight distribution.

4) Never lift above shoulder height, unless you’re The Ultimate Warrior of course

5) Don’t lift with your back
Probably the most common lifting advice: lift with your legs, not your back. Your legs are stronger, so bend your knees and squat down to lift any load from the ground, not your back.

6) Avoid twisting
When lifting or carrying, your shoulders should be kept level and facing the same direction as your hips. If you need to turn, change the direction of your feet instead of twisting and lifting at the same time, which has the potential for greater injury.

7) Look up
Look ahead at where you’re going, and not down at your feet or what you’re holding. This will help you anticipate any obstacles and make the overall lift safer.

8) Move smoothly
If you can, try to move as smoothly as possible while lifting and carrying. Rocky or jerking movements can make the object harder to control, leading to drops or falls that can increase the risk of an injury.

9) Don’t lift more than necessary
There’s often a big difference between what people think they can lift, what they can actually lift and what they can safely lift. If in any doubt, seek advice, use a lifting aid or get help.

10) Put it down, then adjust
If precise positioning of the load is necessary, put it down first, then slide it into the desired position. Don’t try to put the object down in a very precise position or hold on to it any longer than necessary.

In the event of a manual handling accident, get help quickly, whether that be calling an ambulance or seeking some sort of medical attention such as a first aider.

When it comes to getting yourself back on your feet or somebody else back on their feet then it’s worth the injured party considering the likes of osteopathy, physiotherapy or seeking some occupational health advice to help reduce pain in order to return to work and to resume hobbies or everyday life as quickly as possible.

That’s all for today, hopefully that’ll stand you in good stead whenever it comes to lifting anything in the future and I’ll see you next time for some more bitesize bits to help your health flourish, bye for now.