Out in the warehouse it’s possible to move goods and stock with forklift trucks. There’s plenty of room for the trucks to operate safely. Elsewhere material handling isn’t quite so simple. At work people have to move all kinds of things, like computers, tins and boxes of paper for example. They have to be transported through office buildings and narrow corridors. Nothing for it but to use some good old fashioned people power instead.

Carrying any kind of load at work is potentially dangerous. People need to think carefully about how they design the task at hand. It might not look heavy, but after carrying that box for a few metres the arms quickly become tired. Poor technique can cause accidents. People can hurt themselves and damage valuable equipment and stock. It’s a real problem. A back injury can mean months off work.

The golden rule of manual handling is to try not to carry it in the first place. Using equipment like trolleys makes life simpler and safer for everyone. Let the equipment take the strain instead. It’s a much safer and more efficient way to move things around the building.

If a business is experiencing problems with manual handling then they need to review current arrangements and make some changes. Firstly they need to make sure that people who are regularly involved in handling tasks have received adequate training. A little awareness goes a long way. This could be a classroom session or an online course. Either way, it’s vitally important to teach people the basics so they stop and think before making a bad decision when they are moving things around.

It’s a legal requirement to carry out regular risk assessments too. These exercises help to identify any problems with technique, behaviour and equipment, giving the organisation an insight into what needs to be tightened up from a manual handling safety perspective. Armed with this information managers can start putting things right. Non compliance with this requirement can lead to heavy fines which adds extra incentive to get things right.

It’s vitally important to invest in the right equipment too. Trolleys and trucks are a simple, low cost solution to most manual handling issues. No one has to injure themselves or cause damage unnecessarily. Loading goods into these ingenious little trucks is the simple and safe way to move things around the office or factory floor.

When they break it’s essential to replace them. Each time a truck is out of action the knock on effects are felt down the line. It’s vitally important for any kind of business to find a reliable supplier of quality trucks so they can move pallets and boxes whenever there’s a need to shift things around.

A small additional spend on the right kind of handling equipment can have a huge positive impact, making an organisation a safer place to work. Tasks can be completed in a timely fashion and there are less breakages. Maybe it’s time to invest in some new equipment to make sure that manual handling doesn’t become an issue. It’s an investment that soon pays itself back. An organisation should never underestimate the importance of good manual handling. And good safety is good business too. Remember, don’t pick it up, use material handling equipment instead. It’s the smarter way to move things.

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Adrian Grant

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