RTITB has released new guidance an effort to reduce the 1,700 acute injuries that occur each year within the food and drink sector, that are caused by incorrect manual handling. This guidance has been designed in order to help employers improve their manual handling processes, increase safety and boost efficiency.
Manual handling refers to lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling and carrying loads. Although it may vary across the food and drink supply chain, unless managed correctly, problems can cause worker injuries by putting a strain on the limbs, tendons, heart and – most importantly – muscles and the back.
The Manual Handling Process
RTITB Managing Director, Laura Nelson, commented: “There can be a misconception among both employers and staff that manual handling is just about how to pick up a heavy box. However, this is just one part of manual handling processes that employers should tackle to improve productivity and safety in their food and drink operations.”
The Manual Handling Operators Regulations (MHOR) 1992 (as amended in 2002) outlines a recommended three-step approach for companies. This covers how to ‘avoid’ manual handling by implementing automated processes where possible to ‘assess’ the risk of injury where it cannot be avoided and ‘reduce’ the risk as far as possible. Successful implementation of the right equipment within the workplace can help to significantly reduce the risk of injury.
Boost overall productivity
Mechanised or automated handling equipment can also speed up operations and boost overall productivity. Training is a valuable measure for ensuring that employees are able to perform daily tasks correctly and safely and is an effective way for companies to enforce safety regulations and practices. Employers have a legal obligation to provide the required staff training for any job, and this extends to educating employees in manual handling.
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