Safe Loading of your Vehicle

Manual handling accounts for 30% of injuries at work. Almost half the resultant injuries sustained are back injuries. Moving even lighter loads when stooping or twisting can cause injury.

If you need to move or lift items at work there is a requirement for you to undertake formal manual handling training so that you know the physical elements of how to lift and move safely and effectively. This applies to all activities of lifting and moving items at work including loading and unloading from vehicles.

If at all possible avoid manual handling activities (for example, don’t twist around to lift a heavy bag from the back seat). If it is unavoidable assess the possible risk of injury.

  • Plan how you can lift in the safest way.
  • Know your limits on what you can lift or move.
  • Take steps to reduce risk of injury to the lowest reasonably practicable level.
  • Lift and hold with both arms and hands in a secure fashion.
  • Use gloves for a better grip if required.
  • Keep your spine straight and bend your knees, rather than your back.
  • Lift smoothly and don’t over-reach.

Some more areas to avoid:

  • Lifting or moving items that involve lifting to the side.
  • Twisting and turning should be avoided.
  • Lifting items with sharp or jaded edges.
  • Be aware of clothing that might get caught on items you lift.
  • Be careful with uneven weight balance – heavier at one end than the other.
  • Don’t lift over a high lip (for example a high car-boot lip).

When you are loading any vehicle, you also need to consider its legal weight limits. You must not exceed the weight limits for your vehicle or cause danger by the way any load is carried in your vehicle. Every vehicle will have a ‘manufacturer’s plate’ which sets out the maximum allowed weights (vehicle plus load). You will find this plate in the engine bay or sometimes in the door frame. If in doubt, ask for advice.

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