Dr Alistair Bromhead on why Manual Handling Training Should NOT Become a Thing of the Past
In 2018 the HSE announced off-the-shelf manual handling training should become a thing of the past. Worryingly it seems some employers have taken this to mean it is no longer needed at all which says Dr Alistair Bromhead is a risky misunderstanding.
This was a topic that leading health and safety training expert Dr Alistair Bromhead felt strongly about and was in full agreement with. Following the announcement however, it came to Dr Bromhead's attention that there had been fairly widespread misunderstanding of what the HSE actually meant by its statement, with some employers taking it to mean that manual handling training was no longer necessary at all.
Dr Bromhead is most concerned at this reaction, saying that the misinterpreted view could not be further from the truth. In fact he says, any employer which has opted to leave manual handling training off the agenda altogether could find itself in very hot water indeed should there be an investigation by its insurer or the HSE.
In response to the misguided reaction, Dr Bromhead has set out to explain what the HSE actually meant by its statement.
"Firstly let's look at the HSE's hierarchy of control. This is a series of options in decreasing order of preference. In terms of manual handling, the training itself – the actual process of teaching someone how to physically handle something safely - appears low down the order. This can be interpreted as the HSE believing that relying on an individual to consistently use the good handling technique they have been taught is a poor control measure. This is something we agree with.
"The HSE emphasises that, where possible, solutions that appear higher up the hierarchy should be prioritised. These would be elimination, automation and the use of handling aids. Eliminating the need to handle an object manually should come first, as it is the most effective control measure possible. Automating handling tasks so there is no longer a need for manual involvement comes next, and then incorporating the use of aids to assist the manual handler should fall after that. However, do not forget that handlers and their managers need to be educated on this hierarchy and the benefits of the higher options.
"Secondly comes the issue of tailored training. A spokesperson for the HSE has stated that simplistic training involving bending your knees to lift a cardboard box is just a waste of time and money. Instead, training should be customised and professionally delivered and informed by the views and experience of the workforce."
Dr Bromhead is again in agreement with all the HSE advice and draws the attention of employers to the official Guidance on the Regulations, L23. Training must incorporate loads which the operators handle in order to give an appreciation of the risk factors, methods of reducing them and the potential impacts of failing to do so.
"Any manual handling training that does not incorporate all of the elements as outlined in L23; training that simply focuses on the physical side of things, in other words, how to bend knees and lift a box; and training that is not bespoke to specific needs is the type of training that the HSE is saying should become a thing of the past."
Alistair Bromhead Ltd offers a range of manual handling training courses (http://www.abromhead.co.uk/
To learn more about the range of nationwide manual handling courses offered by Alistair Bromhead Ltd and to check availability, call 0800 710 1099 or email email@example.com.