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Back injuries in the workplace are the most common injury that can occur due to manual handling and can affect employees in various industries. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) more than a third of all workplace injuries are related to manual handling injures at work.

Almost all jobs involve manual handling in some form. If your employer fails to provide you with the proper equipment and training and if you sustain any manual handling related injury at work, you may be entitled compensation for your injury.

What qualifies as a manual handling task?

This term refers to any activity requiring the use of force by a person to lift, lower, push, pull, hold or restrain something. This is most commonly associated with industrial work such as at a factory, building, construction, and in healthcare settings. However manual handling injuries could also affect office-based workers – for example, as a result of poor posture, improper chairs and office equipment and even typing are all examples of manual handling tasks.

A manual handling related back injury can be caused by a one off injury at work or a back condition which can develop over time also known as repetitive strain injury.

  • Case Study

    £15,000 recovered for a delivery man who suffered an injury to his back

    Mr A worked for a restaurant supply business as a delivery man.  Due to a lack of adequate risk assessments and support he was regularly required to lift very heavy bags of rice and barrels of beer on his own, including up and down narrow stair cases, as a result of which he suffered injury to his back.  After securing an admission of liability Aston Knight Solicitors obtained specialist orthopaedic evidence and following a period of negotiation secured a settlement of £15,000.

    View all success stories

What are your employer’s obligations under the regulations?

Injuries caused by manual handling is covered by the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 which require employers to avoid, assess and reduce risk of injury from manual handling.

The Manual Handling at Work Regulations 1992 legislation clearly states that employers have a duty to protect employees from “risk of injury and ill health from hazardous manual handling tasks in the workplace”.

Your employer is legally required to assess the risk of injury from any hazardous manual handling operations that cannot be avoided which means they are required to consider the task, the load, your working environment and individual capability. Once the risks are identified, the next step is to implement measures to control the risk and reduce the risk of injury where reasonably practicable.

Your employer should deliver the relevant manual handling training and then monitor and review procedures.

Factors your employer must take into account when assessing risk are for example:

  • the postures adopted
  • how far the load is lifted, lowered or carried
  • the frequency of the task
  • the weight of the load
  • the nature of the load (for example hot, sharp or slippery)
  • cramped work areas
  • poor floor surfaces
  • poor lighting, extremes of temperature
  • your strength, fitness and underlying medical conditions (for example if you have a history of back problems)

steps your employer can take to reduce the risk include:

  • make the load smaller or lighter and easier to grasp
  • break up large consignments into smaller loads
  • modify the workplace to reduce carrying distances, twisting movements, or the need to lift things from floor level or above shoulder height
  • change the work routine to avoid excessive work rates and tight deadlines
  • improve the environment – more space, better flooring, extra lighting or changing the air temperature can make manual handling easier and safer
  • make sure the person doing the lifting has been trained to lift as safely as possible
  • your employer must consult their workforce and therefore you should raise any concerns or issues you have with your line manager.

What are the most common manual handling back injuries at work?

Incorrect manual handling can cause various injuries and often places stress on your back which is the weakest part of your body and therefore will be susceptible to injury because of poor manual handling techniques.

A manual handling injury is a type of musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) and will typically involve a joint or tissue injury or damage.

Common back injuries include pulled muscles (strains), slipped discs, sciatica (trapped nerves), and in extreme cases, broken bones.

Contacting Aston Knight Solicitors

If you have sustained any type of injury at work that was caused by your employer’s negligence, our experienced solicitors can help you claim compensation for your work related injury. Please call Aston Knight Solicitors today on 0161 399 1231 or click the ‘Contact’ button above to submit an online enquiry and one of our dedicated Solicitors will contact you to discuss your claim further.

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