How Much Should an Employee Be Able to Lift?
Quite often, we come across disputes between employers and employees as to how heavy a load people should be able to lift. Perhaps an employee thinks an object is too heavy, but their manager disagrees. Unfortunately, the situation isn’t so black and white as ‘all employees should be able to lift Xkg’. We asked our Health & Safety consultant to fill in the blanks.
In terms of the law, there is no defined maximum weight for manual lifting and handling, it places the onus on employers to manage the risks of manual handling in order to safeguard employees. How these risks are managed varies depending on the circumstances of the task. When managing manual handling, things that should be taken into account include the individual performing the task (their strength, fitness, medical conditions etc), the weight to be lifted, the distance to be carried, the shape and size of the object to be lifted and therefore the posture required to perform the task. A heavy load that is small and has handles that allow it to be lifted easily could be less of a risk than a relatively lighter load that is large and hard to grip.
In cases where employees are going to encounter manual lifting and handling tasks on a regular basis, they should be trained on how to do this safely so as to avoid injury. However, training only forms a part of risk management, risk assessments and proper working procedures should also be implemented and kept up to date. In the event that an item is too risky for an employee to lift, mechanical aids should be considered such as a forklift, hoist or conveyer.
For more information on manual lifting and handling, training, or to book a free review, call on 0844 8797286.
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