Picking up a box or carrying a load may be part of your daily routine at work. You may be asked to carry out a task that could mean lifting and moving awkward goods or objects. The way in which you lift even a relatively light load can result in unexpectedly pulling a muscle or putting your back out.
Manual handling injuries can occur anywhere people are at work – on building sites, farms, in factories, offices, warehouses, laboratories, banks, hospitals or while making deliveries and there is always a potential risk of causing yourself harm and injury while lifting, supporting or carrying a load. The Health and Safety Statistics Annual Report 2013/14 shows that 24% of the most common, non-fatal injuries reported to employers are caused by handling, lifting or carrying.
Straining a muscle or injuring your back at work may be caused not by an accident but by a lack of training in how to lift, carry and set down a load correctly. The way you lift, carry or support a load can result in pulling a muscle or putting your back out.
Manual handling causes over a third of all workplace injuries, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), including all types of strains, sprains and muscle injuries to arms, legs, hands and feet. ‘Manual handling’ covers not just lifting and carrying but also lowering, pushing and pulling.
If any of these tasks is not carried out in the right way, you risk an injury that could need hospital treatment, physiotherapy, and time off work for weeks. In some cases, there can be long term pain, which can affect your ability to work in the same occupation or even to work at all.
The risk of a manual handling injury is not limited to building sites, warehouses or factories. You can just as easily strain a muscle or trap a nerve by carrying out a simple, routine lifting task if you work in an office, a shop or just about every type of working environment.