Manual handling can be hard on your body if not performed correctly. Everyday repetitive moments can cause significant wear and tear, and handling objects that are too heavy or awkward to lift can cause immediate injury. For this reason, it is essential that manual handling always be undertaken with care and with your training in mind.
Premium wants all our tradespeople to enjoy long and healthy careers. Of course, manual handling training isn’t exactly the most exciting way to spend our time. However, it is vital to prevent injury and to preserve your long-term wellbeing.
What are the most common manual handling injuries?
Types of manual handling injuries include:
Lower Back Pain
Manual handling statistics Australia shows that lower back pain is the most common manual handling injury complaint. Lower back pain can be the result of muscle strains, joint strains and or even more severe injuries such as disc prolapse. These may occur due to repetitive bending or lifting with a heavy load, poor posture in sitting and standing, or picking up something too heavy or awkward.
Small things like the way you sit at your desk or in your car can lead to neck issues over time. Repetitive twisting, rotation or reaching can cause injury over time. Also, sustained lack of movement, such as a long drive, can cause stiffness. Looking down for an extended period, such as being hunched over a workbench, can also lead to neck pain.
Shoulder pain is a less common complaint in our industry. However, even in the strongest shoulders, strain can lead to serious injury over time. Shoulder pain may result from lifting heavy loads in an awkward position, such as above your head or away from your body. If not addressed, acute shoulder pain could lead to long term injury, such as shoulder impingement, where the tendon in the front of the becomes pinched. This may even require surgery.
In our industry, Tennis Elbow and Golfers Elbow sadly aren’t usually the result of enjoying these leisurely activities. When the muscles in your forearm that provide your grip strength are overworked, it can cause strain on your elbow. This may be due to repetitive heavy lifting or lifting in an awkward position.
Other Joint Pain
Pain in other joints throughout your body, such as your knees, wrists or hands, may also be due to improper manual handling techniques. Our bodies can take a lot. However, excessive repetitive movement and pushing ourselves to handle too heavy items can lead to lifelong issues if the proper techniques are not kept in mind.
Avoiding Manual Handling Injuries
Carefully follow the instructions given during your manual handling training. Before you lift a heavy or awkward load, take a beat to consider the position of your body, and adjust to ensure you are consistently lifting with your legs, not your back, and you are able to get a safe grip of the object. If something is too heavy for you, do not push yourself. Seek an alternative, such as mechanical equipment or the help of another team member. If you notice that a particular posture or position is causing pain or stiffness, talk to your employer about adjusting your work setup.
Keeping fit and healthy through regular exercise and a healthy diet also plays an essential part in avoiding manual handling injuries. If pain begins to develop, let your team leader know as soon as possible. If pain persists, consult a medical professional and follow their advice.
How does Premium help?
Premium Mechanical Group workplaces are designed to minimise manual handling risks. We take every step possible to ensure that your worksite is as safe as possible, such as providing lifting aids and mechanical alternatives, planning regular breaks, and ensuring to rotate tasks within your team.
At Premium, our employees always come first. We make sure that all team members have undergone the correct training to do their job safely, including manual handling training. If you want to work for an inclusive employer, specialising in mechanical fitters and mobile plant maintenance, please browse our Careers page. Also, get the extra training and development that you need to take your career to the next level with our Trade-Up program.