HSE focus on Manual Handling in construction sector

HSE inspections in the construction sector in October and November will focus on how workers are moving heavy or bulky materials. This is part of the HSE’s ‘Work Right Construction: Your heath. Your future‘ campaign.

From 3 October 2022, HSE site inspections will check that employers and workers know the risks, plan their work and are using sensible control measures to protect workers from:

  • injuries and aches
  • pain and discomfort in joints, muscles and bones

These are known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

It is estimated that 40,000 construction workers suffered work-related MDSs last year. These injuries can seriously impact a worker’s ability to perform tasks, stay in work and earn a living, as well as impacting their quality of life as individuals often suffer long-term pain and discomfort.

Information for employers:

As an employer you must protect your workers from getting hurt or ill through work. If you don’t the HSE could:

  • give you verbal or written advice
  • give you an improvement or prohibition notice
  • prosecute you

Working days lost through MSDs have significant financial implications for businesses, as well as the time to recruit and train replacement workers when needed.

MSDs injuries usually occur from repetitive moving of heavy or bulky materials and the posture during lifting. So managing these daily activities effectively is key.

Employers must comply with the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992. This set of regulations provide a hierarchy of measures on how to manage the risk of harm from manual handling:

  • Avoid hazardous manual handling operations so far as reasonably practicable.
  • Assess any manual handling operations that can’t be avoided.
  • Reduce the risk of injury to as low as reasonably practicable.

Wider advice from the HSE includes:

  • Prevent: Work with lighter weight or smaller materials. Use fully mechanised positioning and laying systems where heavy products are used.
  • Control: Have heavy materials delivered as close as possible to the point of use.
  • Review: Check that these measures are being followed on site. Maintain equipment that is used to lift heavy materials.

For support with Health and Safety on your construction sites, including Construction Site Visits, contact us today.

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