UNISON’s national office has conducted research into a random sample of 50 members’ compensation claims that have occurred because of musculoskeletal injuries (UNISON’s solicitors had supported their claims).
They found 90% of claims were caused by basic failings in risk assessments. 21% were caused by staff often being forced to, singlehandedly, manually lift loads requiring two or more people.
One of the most common reasons regulatory bodies have to take enforcement action against employers is when equipment such as slings or hoists is poorly fitted or maintained. You can help to reduce injuries by:
- becoming a health and safety rep – with more reps we can better hold employers to account;
- complying with employers’ health and safety guidance instructions.
Health and safety reps should call on employers to:
- carry out robust risk assessments;
- where possible, eliminate the need for manual handling by providing mechanical aides;
- where this is not possible, reduce risks by minimising manual handling or ensuring there are sufficient staff to safely manage difficult loads;
- providing appropriate and well maintained equipment, such as adjustable visual display units and chairs and lifting aides such as slings and hoists.
Downloadable resources are available by searching ‘musculoskeletal’ on www.unison.org.uk.