Manual material handling (MMH) is the most common cause of occupational fatigue and lower back pain. MMH includes any tasks that require a person to lift, lower, push, pull, hold or carry any object or material.
Be aware that handling hazardous material (asbestos, chemicals, etc.) will have requirements listed in other sections of the OHS Act and regulations.
As an employer, you must:
Handling Heavy Objects
Handling and moving heavy objects requires special precautions. As the employer, you must ensure employees handling heavy objects:
The guideline Developing a Code of Practice for Manual Handling can be used to develop safe practices and prevent injuries related to manual material handling. Key steps in preventing injuries from manual material handling include:
Consider solutions such as:
Any one solution may not eliminate all the risks of injury. Choose the solution that best applies to your situation and use it as a starting point to improve your work environment.
While the employer is ultimately responsible for all the provisions mentioned above, the supervisor has a vital role to play in the safety of their teams. As a supervisor, you must:
General Regulation - Occupational Health and Safety Act
N.B. Reg. 91-191
Part II SANITATION AND ACCOMMODATION
16. An employer shall ensure that materials, machines or equipment are not stored or located in a place of employment so as to create a hazard to an employee.
Part VIII HANDLING AND STORAGE OF MATERIALS
Section 52 General Handling of Objects and Material
52. Where the health or safety of an employee handling an object or material may be endangered, an employer shall ensure that
(a) adequate and appropriate equipment is provided to the employee and is used by the employee for lifting and moving the object or material, and
(b) the employee is instructed as to the appropriate method of lifting and moving objects and material.
Section 53 Heavy Objects
53. (1) Where a heavy object is handled on an incline, an employer shall ensure that an employee handling the object uses, and the employee handling the object shall use, chocks and ropes or other tackle to control the motion of the object, and both shall ensure that other employees do not stand on the downward side of the incline.
(2) Where a heavy object is moved by using rollers, an employer shall ensure that an employee moving the object uses, and the employee moving the object shall use, bars or sledges to change the direction of the moving rollers.