Off the shelf handling training 'a waste of money', HSE warns
The executive has published a new web guide that it hopes will prevent employers from investing in generalised training courses for lifting after research found they were ineffective in controlling manual handling risks at work.
The information has been divided into categories, including risk assessment, workplace organisation, attitudes and behaviours, and uses hypothetical scenarios to help employers determine what assistance they need to tackle musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) among their staff.
It also includes a list of professional bodies, consultant registers and qualification awarding bodies who could offer further assistance.
The advice was developed with input from more than 20 organisations including IOSH, British Safety Council, EEF manufacturers' organisation, National Safety Industry Federation, Occupational Safety and Health Consultants Register and Parcel Carriers Safety Association.
Launching the online tool at its inaugural MSD Summit today (21 March), the HSE's health and work portfolio manager Geoff Cox said: "Our research shows that simplistic training involving bending your knees to lift a cardboard box is just a waste of time and money.
"The overall aim is to avoid and reduce manual handling, and that's where employers should start if their workforce faces manual handling risks. Don't start with training; start with reorganising and redesigning your working practices.
"If you do need staff training, and there are many residual risks where this is the case, then this needs to be customised and professionally delivered. Any such training should be based on observations of current working practices, and should be informed by the views and experience of the workforce."