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  3. HSE finds good and bad manual handling on construction sites

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out over one thousand inspections of UK construction sites in October and November of 2022. The HSE report on their findings cites examples of both good and bad manual handling procedures.

Good strategies for moving materials around a site use machines and devices. Good examples that the HSE inspectors found included low-cost airbags to help position heavy doors, using all-terrain pallet trucks to move heavy blocks and brick lifting devices.

Lifting an 80kg kerb by a single worker without assistance from machinery was an example of poor manual handling strategies. Another bad example was a 110kg floor saw that was moved by two workers which was against health and safety regulations.

The HSE noted that many construction workers have muscle, bone, joint and nerve injuries which affect their ability to work. Employers have a legal duty to prevent employees from suffering from musculoskeletal disorders.

Mike Thomas, the acting head of the HSE construction division said:

"Lifting and moving heavy, bulky and awkward-to-handle objects on construction sites is harming the health of thousands of construction workers to such a degree every aspect of their lives is affected."

Construction sites may have strict rules about wearing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), but as the HSE inspectors found, not all consider how many materials are moved from the point of delivery to where they are installed. The less manual handling that is required, the less risk there is to workers' health.


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