The current supply of posts available out there appears to be a lot greener and wetter than usual. With the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, not even the Hulk can get away with carrying posts around by himself.
All joking aside, it is probably a good reminder about using proper manual handling techniques.
Manual handling is when someone; carries, holds, moves or manipulates something, in any way, as part of their work. Some workers do a wide variety of manual handling tasks. The tasks involve using force, repetitive movements, stooping, static and awkward postures, frequent bending and twisting at the waist, and handling heavy objects. These can cause several problems, including; serious back injuries, musculoskeletal disorders, including occupational overuse syndromes, acute injuries, like muscle or tendon sprains and strains, injuries from slips, trips and falls.
The main issue with lifting and carrying these posts is the sheer weight involved.
Handling heavy objects needs a lot of strength. This means tissues and joints in the back, knees, arms and shoulders are overloaded. A lighter weight held away from the body needs the same effort to handle as a heavy one held close. Jerking or moving a load quickly uses more force than just carrying the load. No one can set out specific weight limits (because manual handling is a complex process involving a lot of different risks), but the more weight or force needed, the more likely it is someone will be hurt.
Key points for preventing manual handling injuries when lifting and carrying heavy posts
- Workers must be trained in correct techniques for manual handling jobs
- (Re)design the workplace to minimise manual handling hazards
- No one should lift something that is too heavy for them
- Warm up before lifting and stretch regularly
- Lift with the legs, not the back
- Use mechanical/lifting aids where possible
- Plan regular breaks and rotate jobs
The other issue with these posts is being wet, is that it exposes everyone handling the posts to tanalising chemicals. The immediate effects of this exposure can be skin irritations or rashes and illness. Over a longer period of exposure, the effects can be more serious long-term health issues such as cancer.
Key points for preventing exposure to tantalising chemicals from wet posts
- Take particular care when the post has crystalline chemical deposits on it.
- Wear long sleeve shirts when handling posts.
- Wash your hands before eating, drinking or smoking.
- Wash exposed areas of your body after working with tantalised
- Wash work clothes separately from other clothes.
Finally, talk to your post supplier and don’t settle for posts that aren’t up to standard, it is you and your team that are being put at risk with the manual handling and exposure hazards that these wet posts present. Paying a higher price for good posts may seem a small price to pay when compared to injuries, sickness, long-term illnesses or fines for not appropriately managing this hazard.
Stay safe out there guys.
The Rural Safe Team