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Manual handling definition, limits and solutions

In the majority of companies and households, lifting, laying or carrying heavy loads still involves manual handling. Although this practice is widespread, it presents some risks that can be avoided through certain preventive measures.

Published on 27 July 2023 - Manut-LM

Find out everything you need to know about manual handling. From its definition to its operation through its limits, our craftsmen give you all the information.

What is manual handling?

Manual handling is an activity that requires some physical effort for transport or heavy load support operations. This is a common practice in many sectors such as:

  • Industry;
  • Agriculture;
  • Construction;
  • The army;
  • Transport or logistics;
  • Distribution;
  • Real estate;
  • Buildings;
  • Trade;
  • Etc.

Manual handling is practiced for many operations such as laying, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving several objects. Due to the conditions in which it is carried out, handling may require the effort of one or more people.

What are the criteria to consider for manual handling?

Loads that require strenuous gestures and postures to lift can increase the risk of long-term occupational injuries and illnesses. Before practicing this method of lifting, you should take into account some important criteria:

  • The individual (the person concerned and his abilities): When lifting a load, it is important to focus on an individual’s abilities to perform this task. In this regard, it is necessary to evaluate characteristics such as age, height, weight or health before assigning loads;
  • The load (the object transported or moved): before performing any manual handling activity, several parameters must be taken into account such as the size, dimensions or weight of the load. These criteria must be studied, because they can influence the balance and grip of an individual when handling an object;
  • The task (the manual handling activity): this criterion takes into account the different actions to be performed by a person during handling. For a given load, it is therefore crucial to know the method to adopt to push, pull, lift or carry it;
  • The environment (the area of activity of the handling task): It is essential to check the area of activity when you want to perform any handling action. You must then take certain precautions in case the place is restricted or on uneven ground.

Other factors can influence manual handling activity such as poor ventilation or weather conditions.

What rules should be followed during manual handling?

Manual handling must be carried out correctly to limit accidents at work. To do this, you must respect certain rules, namely:

  • Use your whole body weight to perform the manipulations;
  • Remove any obstacles on your way;
  • Hold the transported load close to your chest;
  • Check the orientation and mobility of your feet;
  • Look for points of support;
  • Change your intake regularly;
  • Superimpose your center of gravity on that of the load;
  • Pay attention to the alignment of your spine;
  • Focus on the action of your legs;
  • Perform correct grips;
  • Avoid any kind of twisting during your trip;
  • Etc.

When these rules are put in place, they limit physical exertion and possible injuries as much as possible.

What are the risks associated with manual handling?

Manual handling of loads presents many long-term risks if not done correctly. The most common hazards are:

  • Low back pain: these accidents are due to excessive and inappropriate effort of the body. Most often, they are caused by poorly bent knees or bent backs;
  • Falls: these are the most frequent cases of accident in business. Falls are often caused by muscle fatigue and cause more or less serious injuries;
  • Muscle strains: Strains are caused when a muscle is solicited without prior preparation. They are characterized by severe damage to the muscles.

In some cases, the risks caused by improper manual handling may be in the form of burns or fractures.

What solutions does Manut-LM offer to help with manual handling?

Based in Ancenis (Loire Atlantique, 44) since 1991, Manut-LM is considered the No. 1 manufacturer of handling equipment. Our lifting tube solutions are custom designed and are 100% French. In order to make your life easier, we offer different types of devices:

  • Overhead cranes and stems;
  • Stacker and handling hoists;
  • Manipulator with lifting tube;
  • Suction cup rudder;
  • Industrial trucks.

In order to guarantee our customers a quality service, we provide them with a dedicated hotline followed by a team of experts. Choosing Manut-LM means choosing quality, ergonomics and safety. Our devices are designed to combat musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

If you have problems handling your loads manually, call Manut-LM. In addition to benefiting from tailor-made solutions, we provide you with a team of technical sales representatives to answer your concerns. Don’t wait any longer and contact us!

What is manual handling?

Manual handling is the practice of handling loads using the physical strength of an individual alone.

In which sectors is manual handling practiced?

Manual handling is practiced in:

  • Buildings;
  • Distribution;
  • Real estate;
  • Etc.
What are the risks associated with manual handling?

The risks associated with the handling of loads are:

  • Breakdowns;
  • Low back pain;
  • Falls;
  • Etc.
What can be done to reduce the risks associated with manual handling?

To help with manual handling, Manut-LM has designed solutions adapted to all situations. With our many lifting tube devices, lift all heavy loads and reduce the risk of injury.

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