We have all sat though some pretty poor Manual Handling Training sessions in our lives. Some of us many times. In the BBC Series “The Office” Gareth Keenan does a classic satire of the way we have been taught to lift a box while bending the knees over and over again. This form of non-specific Training has given Manual Handling Training a bad name.
However, when done well and in line with current evidence, Manual Handling Training can achieve some significant outcomes for a working team, including:
Improving team morale and cohesion
Improving safe work practices and safety culture
Increasing hazard reporting to help prevent injuries
Increasing awareness around being fit for purpose for your role
The key aspects to effective and evidence based Manual Handling Training include the following:
Review of Risk Assessments
The words “Risk Assessment” usually get a few eyes rolling. More paperwork!? The reality is that we constantly Risk Assess in our lives inside and outside of work. Every time you drive you Risk Assess at every intersection – yes or no? Everytime you cross the road – yes here is ok? No, better go to the lights. Workplaces function better and more safely when the team have their Risk Assessment hats on all the time.
Manual Handling Training gives an opportunity for the Risk Assessment processes to be practiced and reviewed. Are they simple enough here? Is the time taken to do these too onerous and therefore they are being skipped? Or are we too lax here and taking chances?
Good Manual Handling Training provides the opportunity for a workplace to review and improve its Risk Assessment processes along with getting the teams more on board about the importance of reporting hazards before there is an incident.
Safety Culture and Communication
Organisations that have a “speak up” culture are miles ahead when it comes to preventing Manual Handling injuries. These organisations encourage teams to report hazards and consult with them actively and meaningfully about how to reduce the risks associated with these hazards.
This approach is known as a positive Safety Culture and Manual Handling Training is a chance to promote this and practice some key communication skills in helping the teams participate in this. These skills include being able to say “No” when appropriate to do so, and being willing to interrupt a colleague who is acting outside the expected standards of safety, using appropriate non-confrontational language when doing so.
Good Manual Handling Training provides the opportunity for a workplace to set a high standard when it comes to Safety Culture and allow the teams to practice the communication skills that help make this possible.
Physical wellbeing and resilience for work
Another opportunity that Manual Handling Training provides is the chance to remind and coach the team around their requirements to be physically fit for purpose in relation to their job demands.
When Manual Handling is done well and mindful of designing tasks to be an acceptably low risk, the big advantage is that the teams get to move and exercise during their working day. To reduce the risks associated with this they need to be fit enough, strong enough, flexible enough and have good body awareness to help reduce the likelihood or aches and strains.
Good Manual Handling Training provides the opportunity for a workplace to provide appropriate stretches and exercises for their teams that are designed by a Physiotherapist to match the demands of their role.
As always have a healthy & productive day,