Most work tasks involve manual handling particularly in the manufacturing and construction industries. Moving and carrying heavy objects often with repetitive movements can cause a whole range of issues and injuries.
So what is the law on injuries from manual handling?
Health and safety law in England and Wales was greatly enhanced by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 which set out obligations to be placed upon every employer by the state to look after workers and reduce the incidence of accidents and injuries at work.
Following this act successive governments have drilled down in to the detail of how to reduce injuries at work across the whole spectrum of the working world.
An example of this is the Manual Handling Regulations issue by Parliament. These regulations set out sound advice on how employers can risk assess manual handling operations and introduce effective measures to reduce the risk of injuries to a minimum.
These regulations are vast and cover details of limits of weights, heights to be lifted, number of safe operations per day and a massive range of advice on all sorts of lifting at work operations.
To fully explore all the regulations on manual handling would require a vast website or book on its own but as expert work accident lawyers we have access to the full library of manual handling regulations and we use our research skills to identify where the regulations contain good advice covering a manual handling procedure similar to the one in which our work accident client was injured.
Unfortunately despite our skill the government have reduced the impact of these regulations by removing the right of an employee to claim that he is owed compensation for his injuries because his employer breached the regulations. The government have put health and safety law back to Victorian times but we are still succeeding in claims arising from injuries sustained whilst lifting at work. Such claims include:-
Lifting excessive weight over 25kg unaided
Being required to lift from the floor unnecessarily
Grossly repetitive lifting
Failure to supply PPE or lifting equipment
Failure to risk assess lifting operations.
Common injuries arising from lifting injuries can include back strain and damage to discs in the spine. Such back injuries caused by lifting at work are recognised in court as being particularly painful and often attract high awards.