The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992

This regulation requires all employers to assess the risk to employees when lifting or handling heavy goods and to provide training in safe techniques.

More than a third of all over-three-day injuries reported each year to the HSE and LAs are caused by manual handling, i.e. lifting, transporting or supporting loads by hand or bodily force. The accidents primarily result in back injuries, but hands, arms and feet may also be injured. These injuries may build up over time as a result of repetitive movements or may be caused by single poor-lifting techniques or too heavy a load. As a therapist you may be required to receive, check and handle deliveries and transport these to the stock room, or to move couches in the salon. It is therefore essential that you are able to assess the risk and protect yourself from injury.

Before lifting or moving anything:

Assess the risk:

^ how heavy is the load

^ can you reduce the load

^ do you have to lift it off the floor - this produces the greatest risk

^ can you get assistance from another person

^ how far do you have to move it

^ can you rest it halfway on a chair or table to ease the effort? LIFTING TECHNIQUES

^ Feet apart on either side of the load for a balanced stable base

^ Good posture; maintain natural curves

^ Tuck chin in, keep a straight back, lower and bend the knees

^ Take a firm grip

Figure 1.4 Take a firm grip and hold the load close to the body.

Figure 1.5 Lift smoothly. Do not twist the trunk when placing the load down.

Figure 1.4 Take a firm grip and hold the load close to the body.

Figure 1.5 Lift smoothly. Do not twist the trunk when placing the load down.

^ Keep the arms into the sides; hold the load close to the body. If you hold it away from the body, this increases the leverage and risk of injury

^ Lift smoothly; do not jerk or twist the body as you lift. Move the feet and place the load in position

^ Do not twist the trunk when placing the load down

^ Back strains and injuries can also occur as a result of incorrect posture and stance when performing massage. Ensure that you adopt the correct stance. Keep the back straight and bend the knees; do not twist the body as you work and avoid stretching over the client.

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