Lifting Injuries At Work

Lifting injuries are the leading cause of employee absenteeism, and are responsible for an estimated five million days off work. This is an alarming figure which is made all the more shocking when you consider many of these injuries could have been avoided.

Lifting in the Workplace

All lifting tasks in the workplace fall under the banner of ‘manual handling’, which can be defined as ‘any transporting or supporting of a load (including lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving) by hand or bodily force’. This therefore includes everything from lifting a heavy piece of equipment in a factory to moving a delivery in a shop.

What Do The Regulations Say?

No matter what the working environment, all lifting in the workplace must comply with the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992. These are in place to help minimise the risks associated with lifting, which can easily lead to a number of serious injuries such as back pain, spine damage and a soft-tissue hernia.

The regulations place the onus on an employer, whose duty it is to protect the health, safety and welfare of all staff. In relation to the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992, an employer must:-

  • Avoid the need to carry out manual handling where possible;
  • Perform regular risk assessments of all manual handling that cannot be avoided;
  • Use the findings of the risk assessment to implement measures to reduce risk;
  • Provide regular training, guidance and supervision with regard to correct manual handling technique;
  • Provide lifting equipment if necessary.

Lifting Injuries – Is Your Employer Responsible?

While it is not possible to prevent all lifting injuries, your employer has a legal obligation to take reasonable steps to reduce the risks. This means he/she must comply with the regulations set out above to ensure manual handling is carried out in the safest way possible. If there is a failure to take ‘reasonably practicable steps’ to prevent lifting injuries from occurring, then an employer will have breached their legal duty. If an employee subsequently suffers a lifting injury, the employer in question will be deemed responsible.

Making A Claim

If you suffer a lifting injury at work, you need to speak to a legal expert, as your employer could be held accountable for the pain and suffering you have experienced. If your injury was indeed a direct result of your employer’s negligence, then you will be able to make a work accident claim, which could mean you receive compensation for your injuries.

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