Manual handling of loads means any transporting or supporting of a load by one or more employees and includes lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving a load, which by reason of its characteristics or of unfavourable ergonomic conditions involves risk, particularly of back injury to employees.
Work related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) are a common health problem throughout the industrialised world and one of the major cause of work-related accidents. WMSDs are conditions of the nerves, tendons, muscles and supporting structures of the musculoskeletal system that can result in fatigue, discomfort, pain, local swelling, or numbness and tingling. WMSDs usually develop from cumulative damage resulting from months or years of exposure to excessive levels of physical and psychosocial stressors at work.
The major risk factors for WMSDs in the workplace include:
Heavy manual handling;
Repetitive and forceful actions;
Awkward static postures that arise from badly designed workstations, tools, equipment, working methods;
Poor work organisation.
Employer has a duty to carry out manual handling risk assessment and take appropriate organisational measures, or use appropriate means, in particular mechanical equipment, to avoid the need for the manual handling of loads by the employer`s employees.
Where the need for the manual handling of loads cannot be avoided, appropriate organisational measures must be taken and appropriate means provided in order to reduce the risk involved in the manual handling of such loads, having regard to the risk factors specified in Schedule 3 of 2007 safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations – Appendix 1.
The QEC (Quick Exposure Check) is one of many tools that we use for manual handling risk assessment. QEC was developed to enable health and safety practitioners to undertake assessments of the exposure of workers to musculoskeletal risk factors. QEC focuses on exposure assessment and change in exposure, thus allowing the benefits of workplace interventions to be assessed rapidly.
QEC allows physical work activities to be assessed in collaboration with the worker.
QEC assessment sheets are completed for each tasks performed by a worker, including both observers` and workers` assessment and exposure scores calculated to determine risk level .
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Manual Handling Training