Safety and health concerns
Manual handling tasks carried out using incorrect technique and without due regard to individual capability significantly increases the risk of injury to the back. These injuries range in severity from soft tissue injuries to more serious and permanent injury to discs. However, in all cases they are likely to lead to lost time from work.
A number of factors affect the likelihood of injury occurring during manual handling and employers are obliged to carry out a specific risk assessment for all manual handling tasks to identify high risk factors and reduce them to as low as possible in conjunction with any training provided. These factors can include the weight of the load, the distance and frequency of lifts, stretching or stooping, production demands, fitness, floor conditions and space constrains for example.
A manual handling risk assessment must be carried out by a competent person in consultation with employees and must identify the specific aspects or part of the operation that could increase the risk of an injury to employees. Measures must then be put in place to reduce that risk and may include:-
- avoiding the need for manual handling
- using mechanical aids
- reducing the number of lifts or weight of lifts
- training and supervision of employees
Training is only one measure that can be taken to reduce risk of injury from manual handling activities. Any training provided to employees must be relevant to the types of tasks carried out in the workplace and ideally should be provided by an instructor familiar with the particular manual handling activities of the employment. The most cost effective means of providing such training is through having an 'in-house' manual handling instructor.
Manual Handling Training Standards
On 30th March 2010 two new awards were published by QQI for Manual Handling Instruction and People Handling Instruction. These awards are at Level 6 on the National Framework for Qualifications and are called 'Level 6 Special Purpose Certificate in Manual Handling Instruction' and 'Level 6 Special Purpose Certificate in People Handling Instruction'. Individuals trained in manual handling or people handling instruction on these new courses receive a QQI Award through a QQI Registered Training Provider.
All training providers have to be a QQI Registered Training Provider to offer this course.
Ibec offer the Level 6 Special Purpose Certificate in Manual Handling Instruction though the training website (www.ibectraining.ie).
More detail on the specific legal requirements and duties relating to manual handling can be found under the section General Application Regulations.
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