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Manual Handling (MH) tasks are something we complete all day and every day, both at home and within a workplace setting. It is essential to ensure we adopt good techniques and not rush tasks, to avoid possible injury and maintain safety for both patient and our selves at all times.

Incorrect and poor manual handling techniques can lead to Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD’s) e.g. back injuries, arm injuries, neck injuries and joint diseases. Such injuries can occur in a one off isolated incident, or as a result of a repetitive/prolonged task that includes activities such as lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling and carrying by hand, or bodily force. 

It is both the responsibility of the employer and employee to ensure that safe systems are provided and maintained in the workplace. This includes 5 key areas:

  1. Training and supervision/mentoring and attendance
  2. Suitable equipment (used/supplied for its intended purpose) – risk assessed (formal and dynamic risk assessments)
  3. Supply of a safe working environment and maintenance of this
  4. Reporting procedure/completion – to record near misses/incidents
  5. Policies and procedures that are given and followed

So, here are 10 top tips when carrying out any manual-handling task, when working with a patient or when moving an immanent object. Remembering to follow the acronym D.U.N.K in the process.

D – Don’t twist U – Use your legs N – Not your back K – Keep the load close

  • Ensure clear understanding of the MH task
  • Complete a formal and dynamic risk assessment (e.g. T.I.L.E)
  • Never feel pressured to rush a MH task
  • Avoid the RISK element and not the TASK
  • Only use equipment fit for its intended purpose
  • Effective communication
  • Seek advice from supervisor and manager if unsure 
  •  Where possible, follow the direction you are going
  • Bend your knees to ensure you adopting a good posture
  • Know your own and other individuals limitations

Written by Sophie Ndikum (ECG Moving and Handling Trainer), Monday 18th May 2020

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