Updated: May 26
Musculoskeletal Disorders cost Ireland millions of euros each year due to people unfortunately being out of work with back discomfort. Even with manual handling training being mandatory a major issue still faces employers and employees despite the advances in Health & Safety. But why?
Is there enough being done to prevent this?
With manual handling courses being mandatory for employees to undertake why is it still the leading cause of injury? Manual handling courses are only made mandatory when somebody reaches the age ready for work!
Why not before? Why are safe lifting courses not made mandatory in schools? Why are we learning this skill in Adulthood? Is learning the basic concept of learning to lift correctly too late?
Let's Go Back In Time
Venture to valentia Island off the coast of Co Kerry in Ireland and you can see one of the oldest traces of history of us coming from the water. Scientists estimate the footprints left behind from the tetrapod date back to 385 million years ago.
The Tetrapod didn't have back problems. Weight was distributed evenly through its body by its four legs. Unfortunately over the years we have now evolved to stand up straight!
"We Were Never Designed To Stand Up Straight".. says Dr Deborah Mannion - E.R Trainings Doctor
Now we unfortunately have nothing to support ourselves when we bend forward. Our arms are too short. As we bend forward we cause considerable stress to be placed on a predominantly lower back area. Training and learning how to adapt proper manual handling lifting is critical to help prevent these lower back injuries.
Yes manual handling training encourages the worker to adapt safe manual handling positions that is delivered on the manual handling course but are people taking this advice and training on board?
From construction to playschools the list of jobs that cause manual handling injuries are plentiful. We need to get the point across. Manual handling is a life skill.
Where to start
Having an understanding of the spine and how it functions is critical for learning. Our team with strong medical backgrounds deliver that well to the students.
Avoid in house manual handling course training. As this may seem like a smart way to reduce training costs, in general employees are reluctant to share any lifting concerns they may have with the inhouse trainer. This is critical information employers need for their ongoing risk assessments to prevent injuries (loss of days out sick) and claims. Employees explain to us they would rather not "rock the boat" in the workplace and just get on with the job. Employees are now more vulnerable to injuries and this can result in as discussed days off sick and claims being made.
Constant updating of manual handling risk assessments.
Ensure manual handling courses are to H.S.A standard.
Manual Handling Course Refresher Training within the 3 years
Training should accurately reflect the situations that your employees regularly encounter during their shifts.