Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Manual handling surge due to increasing construction

Written by Posted On Monday, 02 January 2017 12:58

Manual handling has been part of major industries for a long time, the current surge in the number of constructions going around the world has exponentially increased the need for manual handling, and in that way it is a crucial aspect of construction. Manual Handling Training Dublin is a great company in Ireland.

What is manual handling? Manual handling, be it in any occupation, refers to the supporting and/or transporting of medium to heavy load by worker or workers. Manual handling can be holding, lifting, putting down, pulling, pushing, moving or carrying a load. The load is categorized as follow: animate (animals or humans) or inanimate (tools, bricks, cement.

Also known as ‘manual material handling’, the practice is a common site across major service and non-service industries, including offices, farms, warehouses, factories, building sites, etc.

Of late, a drastic increase in manual handling has been observed in the construction industry, thanks to recklessly growing number of constructions all over. As a result, more and more workers are becoming vulnerable to cumulative disorders due to slow but steady weakening of their musculoskeletal system induced by regular handling or lifting activities. Cumulative issues like neck or back pain can progress to cause acute trauma. Moreover, issues like Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) also results from continuous and long-term repetition of similar kind of manual handing. Manual handling can impair bones, nerves and muscle tissues, rendering up to the extent of leaving a person disabled for life.

Manual handling at high and rising intensity in construction work:

The work being performed in the construction industry in its core essence involved lots of handling, carrying and lifting activities. Workers in construction industry are subject to high risk due to manual handling since their tasks involve:

• Supporting load in awkward positions

• Moving heavy materials

• Carrying heavy loads on uneven surfaces

• Undertaking increasingly repetitive task

These factors tend to create high strains and stresses on the human body, which can result in instant damage to tendons and muscles like sprains and strains – and may progress to recurring long-term health issues.

As per reports, building trading and construction are two industries with a seemingly high estimate and prevalence of upper limb or back injuries which can, in worst, case amount to lifetime disabilities.   

Tips for employers

A conscious citizen and responsible entrepreneur should take appropriate measures to safeguard employees from the ill effects of manual handling.

Here’re a few things you can do about it:

• Make a clear-cut assessment of your construction work, its nature, materials involved, and scope of manual handling. A comprehensive assessment may include going into a few minute details that, though seem low, may well prevent your employees from the havoc of manual handling.

• Check the type of moments and repetitions involved in your process

• Recovery time and rest for workers between repetitive movements

• Any existing issues like back injury or something in your employees

• Consider not just the bulkiness of the weight but also its shape and size; even a light but awkward to grab material can put strain on human body

• Train your workers on correct posture and movement for lifting specific type of loads

• Consider climate and natural factors such as hot, cold or humid conditions; wet, bumpy floors; lighting; air movement; etc.

• Also lay emphasis on whether or not your workers are wearing appropriate protection kit, or their clothes that may result in limited body movement

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Control tips

Where the scope of injury due to manual handling is low and within permissible range, simple and cost-effective methods to control will be just fine. However, when things go beyond a point, such as for workers working as mason, or with plasterboard – employers must take worker safety as a priority to prevent potential damage.

Preventive measures may include:

• Consider reducing or eliminating all the lifting work which may carry risks

• Use telehandlers, cranes, conveyors, hoists or other mechanical lifting aids

• Remove unwanted carrying, material can be transferred to exact point of location in the first place if possible, or pallet trucks to distribute it

• Reduce weight of the loads, use lighter trench blocks wherever possible

• Replace mixing mortar on-site with pre-mixed mortar

However, no matter how hard you try to control these type of risks, nothing can completely negate them in construction industry at least since the bulk of tasks are related to lifting, pushing and carrying. 

·         Consider these measures to control manual handling in your workplace:

·         Use lifting devices, grips, sack barrows, trolleys or any other carrying aids specifically made to replace or assist human handling

·         Provide workers due rest and use employee shift rotation system

·         Keep a close eye on the environment of your workers, proper ventilation, lighting, cleanliness must be provided

·         Create awareness and spread the same – you must be aware of the situation, load capacity, load weight and the impact it can have on the human body

·         Train your employees on correct load handling techniques



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