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Common handling injuries
Over a third of the accidents reported each year are associated with manual handling. The vast majority of these manual handling injuries result in long-term sickness. Common injuries include:
- sprains, often of the back
- nearly 10% are major injuries, e.g. fractures
- many injuries are cumulative - the result of a number of injuries over time - rather than caused by a single handling incident
As an employer, it is your duty to take appropriate measures to identify any potential risk from manual handling operations and to reduce the risk of personal injury to your employees by:
- avoiding hazardous manual handling operations whenever possible
- making a suitable and sufficient assessment of any hazardous manual handling operations which cannot be avoided
- reducing the risk of injury from those operations so far as is reasonably practicable
- in addition you should keep an up-to-date record of accidents and ill-health
Handling risks in the cellar
In the cellar, manual handling generally involves moving a range of loads including casks, kegs, crates, gas cylinders and other heavy and/or hazardous objects.
The risks will vary from cellar to cellar, depending on the type of objects stored and moved.
When you are making an assessment of manual handling operations you need to consider a range of factors.
For further details please see our Guide to Cylinder Handling.
Reducing the risk of injury
Health, safety and productivity are likely to be improved by giving full consideration to the task, the load, the working environment and individual capability. For example:
- consider the individual and what he or she can do, and make tasks appropriate to his or her capabilities
- wear gloves and if you carry a small cylinder keep it close to the body in order to reduce the stress felt by the back
- consider using other Personal Protective Equipment such as steel toe-capped shoes
Managing the needs of your employees and the demands of the environment can greatly reduce handling accidents. Here are some ideas for improvement:
The optimum storage position for loads is around waist height and storage locations above or below this height should be reserved for loads which are lighter, more easily handled or handled infrequently.
Employees should receive adequate and regular training and understand clearly how manual handling operations have been designed to ensure their safety.
Adequate safety warning notices and instructions should be clearly displayed.
Job rotation allows a group of muscles to rest while others are being used and also has the advantages of reducing monotony and increasing attentiveness (e.g. periods of heavy work should be interspersed with paperwork).
When moving cylinders:
- use a purpose-designed trolley wherever possible
- use appropriate mechanical aids to lift or move loads wherever possible
- keep load volumes to a minimum (e.g. fewer cylinders stored in a cellar will reduce cellar clutter and the dangers of cylinder handling and storage)
- reduce loads to smaller, less heavy loads - e.g. package liquids in smaller containers (please note: no benefits will be gained if this leads to increased handling frequency).
Increasing load stability
Ensure that loads are not stacked too high (e.g. crates) and that loads are secure.
Improved work environment
Keep floors clean and dry, clear any spillages promptly and ensure all access ways are unobstructed.
Use the body more efficiently
- reduce the need for twisting, stooping and stretching in handling operations
- objects should not be placed in front of cylinders
- lifting through large distances increases the risk of injury