manual handling. load characteristics
Generally speaking when one thinks of manual handling it's tempting to think about a nice cardboard box such as those that often get used in manual handling training.
Obviously in practice the loads being handled can have all sorts of characteristics such as:
- A load that is too heavy. Contrary to popular belief the legislation does not stipulate a maximum weight that can be carried.
- Too large. It's quite obvious that very large, bulky loads can easily obscure the handler's vision
- Awkward shape so that it's not possible to hold it properly despite one's best efforts
- Too soft to hold properly. Picture a bad of compost at a garden centre.
- Too hard to grip. This can lead to accidents involving dropping
- Poorly positioned. Not strictly a characteristics of the load but important anyway
- Sharp edges. If the load does have sharp edges is the correct PPE provided?
- Chemical hazards. Again the correct PPE should be provided
- Too hot to handle or too cold to touch leading to an insecure grip
- Unbalanced causing the handler to also be thrown off balance or to drop the load.
It is obvious that training alone cannot solve all of these problems but they should all be included when conducting a risk assessment.
Disclaimer: The legislative information contained on this web site is my interpretation of the law based on many years in the health and safety business. A definitive interpretation can only be given by the courts. I will therefore not be held responsible for any accident/incident/prosecution arising as a consequence of anyone using any information obtained from this web site.