Implementing and maintaining an effective manual handling training program ought to be a priority for any manager.
Employees working in both nursing home and office environments are at considerable risk through using incorrect lifting and placing techniques.
Conservative estimates indicate that injuries caused by manual handling policy failures cost the Australian economy a staggering $28 billion in 2017 for sick leave and compensation payments combined.
As a manager, you must be able to not just have a ‘paper’ policy but also be able to prove that it is routinely enforced and refreshed.
Looking out for the wellbeing of your workforce is a legal requirement. Any tasks that may encounter even the faintest chance of injury ought to be subject to a reasonable risk assessment.
In regards to manual handling, that means providing appropriate training to not only new staff members but also providing routine updates.
These must be signed off as understood and appreciated by both the employee and a managerial representative.
Employers must arrange for:
- A clear statement of responsibilities and risks for each job role.
- A corporate approach to ensuring wellbeing and safety in the workplace ethos.
- Appropriate equipment to be installed and maintained as required.
- Ensure compliance and maintain accurate training records and injury logs.
- Enforcement of preventative and restorative amendments following accidents.
- Provide appropriate support for those injured because of manual handling errors.
There are many incidences every year where employees may claim for compensation following their sustaining a workplace injury caused by inappropriate manual handling.
In an office, these can be caused from something as seemingly simple as loading fresh paper into a printer, and in a care home, it could well be encountered when helping people move to and from a wheelchair.
Whatever the cause, the employee also carries a degree of responsibility should they become injured through manual handling.
From a managerial perspective, this is why accurate record keeping is absolutely vital. Employees must:
- Take manual handling training and refresher courses seriously.
- Communicate any concerns or risks to management at the earliest opportunity.
- Take reasonable care to prevent injury to others – including reporting incidences of colleagues conducting inappropriate manual handling techniques.
Where Manual Training Handling Can Help
Without question, the best way to follow through a truly effective manual handling policy is to look into formal courses delivered by experts in their field.
Using external professional services will in the vast majority of cases alert employers to handling risks that are being simply overlooked/ignored.
Manual handling training in Australia is a must for those whose work role routinely involves lifting and placing objects and/or people.
There is a lot more to ensure this is done properly than just reminding employees to ‘use their knees’, especially in a nursing home or office environment.
Lifting requirements and regularity are going to vary between days. In some cases, there may be very little risky lifting to be done yet on others it may make up the majority of the working day.
Being able to prove that you have looked after your team by providing all necessary training – and going as far as sourcing professional assistance – will lessen the risk of injury and potentially save many thousands in covering sick leave and associated insurance payments.
Manual handling may be one of the least ‘popular’ aspects of effective workplace risk assessments but few are more important when it comes to costliness.
Enforcing appropriate lifting and placing techniques can quickly become a cultural norm in the workplace and will massively lower the risks of injured employees.
The knock-on effects in regards to improved performance and staff retention by companies who look out for their staff’s wellbeing are well known – so be sure to explore this if you have any concerns about your current business policies.