Health and safety when working with heavy equipment and machinery

If your workplace is filled with heavy equipment and machinery, you may be at risk of injury if proper safety procedures aren’t in place. According to the latest figures, more than 500,000 employees in the UK suffer from musculoskeletal disorders that were caused at work. One of the most common reasons for this is the incorrect manual handling of heavy equipment and machinery.

As an employer, you have a duty of care to your staff members, which means you should do all you can to mitigate the risk of injury while heavy equipment or machinery is being moved and used. Not sure how to do that? We can help. Follow our tips below to improve the health and safety practices in your workplace, so the risk of injury can be kept to a minimum.

Start by doing a risk assessment

Risk assessments are an essential safety procedure that every business should do ahead of any employee entering the place of work. These highlight potential safety concerns in the building and allow you to come up with bespoke solutions to navigate them.

If your business is filled with heavy equipment and machinery, they should feature on this risk assessment and employees should be made aware of the potential harm they can cause. This should mean they’re extra cautious when working around the equipment.

Get the right equipment

While you may be able to move heavy items manually, sometimes they’re too heavy for even the strongest workforces. This means mechanical assistance is needed but these machines aren’t always perfect when it comes to moving heavy equipment. You can, however, use handy items like lifting slings to manage the items better and keep them more secure in transit.

Personal protective equipment is also essential when working with heavy items. Hard hats and steel-capped boots may help to reduce the impact if an accident does occur.

Take time to train employees

We know you and your employees will be eager to get started with the moving of these heavy items, but without proper training, you’re only risking the health of your team. Your employees should be taught how to move heavy items safely and securely before they even attempt to carry anything. Plus, every item brings unique challenges, so they should be fully briefed on the task at hand before they get to work.

Offer regular breaks

The human body is capable of many things but after a heavy lift, it will need a break to recuperate its energy. Failure to offer regular breaks will increase muscle fatigue, making the chances of dropping an item higher. Not only will this damage the equipment, but it could injure your staff members too.

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