Lifting, supporting and handling equipment can reduce the need for, or at least lighten the load of, manual handling tasks, reducing the risk of injuries like cuts, fractures and muscular and tendon strains. Unfortunately, lifting equipment causes many accidents within the workplace every year.
These incidents happen for many reasons, including:
- failing to observe relevant legal requirements (i.e. complete appropriate risk assessments, training, inspections and maintenance);
- selecting the wrong lifting equipment;
- equipment failure due to damage, environmental factors or an inherent fault;
- a lack of strength and stability and/or poor location choice for the lifting equipment;
- the hazardous nature of the item being lifted, or items in the area;
- collisions or impacts from dropped loads;
- poorly managed safe systems of work.
To avoid lifting equipment causing more health and safety incidents than it prevents, the topic needs to be given serious consideration.