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Manual handling claims

Manual handling causes more than a third of all workplace injuries. Manual handling includes movements such as lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling and carrying.  If these movements are not carried out correctly there is a risk of injury, including musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) such as pain and injuries to tissues in the limbs and back, joint injuries, and repetitive strain injuries. Heavy manual labour, awkward postures and existing injuries are all risk factors in the development of MSDs.
 
If you are asked to move equipment, loads or objects manually your employer must take every precaution available to help you avoid injury. This includes providing the appropriate training and relevant equipment, and by avoiding hazardous manual handling wherever possible.
 
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) makes a number of recommendations to avoid manual handling injuries in the workplace. These include:
 
  • Reducing the amount of twisting, bending and reaching
  • Avoiding lifting from the floor, or above shoulder height
  • Adjusting storage areas to reduce the need for manual handling
  • Reducing carrying distances
  • Assessing the weight to be carried
  • Considering using lifting aids such as forklift trucks 
 
If lifting a heavy item cannot be avoided employers should ensure that staff have been trained in good handling techniques for lifting.

Manual handling case study

 

Moving heavy fruit machines

The accident at work team acted for Jason Smith in a claim against Future Machines Ltd when he was injured at work.
 
In his job Mr Smith was told to assist with a delivery of four or five fruit machines, each weighing 148 kilograms.
 
The delivery lorry was unable to enter the front gates of the defendant’s premises and Mr Smith was asked to collect and bring back the machines, some 50 metres across an uneven road surface using only a sack truck and without help. As he wheeled back a machine, it fell off the sack truck and onto his foot causing a painful fracture injury. 
 
All manual handling operations need to be correctly planned and a suitable risk assessment carried out to ensure that the likelihood of consequent injury is reduced to the lowest reasonable level. This should involve considerations of weights involved, the use of appropriate lifting equipment and assistance from colleagues. 
 
Leigh Day successfully argued that such considerations had not been in place and Mr Smith’s employer accepted that they had breached their duty of care to him. 

Mr Smith proceeded to make a full recovery and his case was successfully concluded by Leigh Day.
 
Our experienced accident at work team can help if you have been injured in a manual handling incident at work.  Call on 0161 393 3530 and someone from the team will be in touch.  If you are unable to visit our offices we can arrange to see you at home.

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