Manual handling claims

The term ‘manual handling’ refers to jobs in which objects are moved by people from one place to another. These loads are lifted, carried, pushed, pulled or dragged by bodily force.

It also includes the picking up and putting down of an object.

This type of activity carries a number of risks which can result in an injury, which in some cases can be permanent.

Manual handling is a feature of many work environments such as warehouses, factories and construction sites. But objects can be moved from one location to another in offices and other similar places.

Employer responsibility

Manual handling is, by its very nature risky, so an employer should look at avoiding this task in their workplace. But if it cannot be avoided then they must take steps to minimise the risk of an injury. This means carrying out a risk assessment beforehand.

The task in question needs to be categorised according to the risk level, e.g. low, medium or high risk and safety measures put in place if it is deemed likely to cause an injury.

If some handling is unavoidable then full training is must be given which instructs employees in the correct way of lifting an object and whether they are sufficiently strong enough to do so.

If they are not then it means having more than one person to do so or using lifting equipment to perform the task.

It is important that anyone who is going to be doing manual handling is aware of the risk of a back injury and takes all steps possible to minimise this risk. Back injuries are a common side effect of manual handling and care must be taken to avoid putting a strain on the back.

But if none of this is put in place then the employee is at risk of an injury. If this has happened to you then you may be able to claim compensation.

Common types of manual handling injuries

The most common types of injuries are:

    • Muscular injuries, e.g. strains and sprains
    • Back injuries, e.g. slipped disc
    • Injuries to the arms and legs

If you have a medical condition then a manual handling accident may worsen this.

Categories of manual handling jobs

Manual handling jobs are usually categorised into the following:

  • Low risk
  • Medium risk
  • High risk

The aim is to minimise the risk of a manual handling job to the lowest level, i.e. low risk. This can mean providing training or safety equipment which will reduce the risk.

A high risk job should be done using special lifting equipment such as a mechanised hoist to prevent the risk of serious injury. These safety measures will downgrade the risk level to medium at least.

Effects of a manual handling injury

No-one should underestimate the effect of an injury caused by manual handling. Some of these injuries will be minor but others are far more serious and lead to a lifelong disability.

There a large number of people who suffer from a bad back and are in constant pain as a result of a manual handling injury.

An injury may mean you are unable to work which results in a loss of earnings and pension rights. This drop in income impacts upon your family’s standard of living and causes a great amount of stress.

Financial hardship compounds this stress.

You may require specialist treatment and support services such as physiotherapy as a result of your injury. This involves travel which is time consuming and expensive.

You have the physical pain to deal with and the emotional distress caused by the injury. If your injury is severe and has result in a disability then this is emotionally difficult for both you and your family.

They have to come to terms with your accident and the consequences and that is a difficult thing to do.

Compensation can help in that it helps to redress what has happened by paying for the cost of treatment, care or any aids you may need in your recovery. It can ease the financial burden caused by your accident and improve your quality of life.

Making a claim for compensation for a manual handling injury

Look for a personal injury lawyer, solicitor or claims handling firm who has experience in these matters. They will have the expertise and understanding of what this type of claim entails and can advise you accordingly.

They will conduct an initial review of your claim to determine the grounds for doing so. Evidence will be needed to support this claim.

The lawyer, solicitor or claims assessor should handle your case with tact and sympathy and provide support throughout.

For more information about the claims process, visit our making a claim for compensation section.

Time limit for claiming compensation for a manual handling injury

Personal injury claims have a 3 year time limit which starts from the time of the accident.

There are a few exceptions to this, mainly claims for industrial diseases such as mesothelioma.

Ask your lawyer or solicitor about the time limit for your type of claim.

Personal Injury Guide

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