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Lifting training ineffective ?


A recent report in the BMJ,

suggests that lifting training makes no difference to the rate of back injury.

Not being an H&S trainer myself I'm curious about your take on this finding if you are.

Also, could it be a case of having to do it anyway because a company will be sued or get grief from the HSE if it doesn't ?

Peter Dunn

3 Responses

  1. It is not effective in changing manual handling behaviour at wor
    My understanding is that the introduction of the Manual Handling Regulations in 1992, with the subsequent legal requirements to assess risk, provide manual handling training and equipment, avoid hazardous manual handling etcetera, has not resulted in any significant reduction in manual handling injuries. Research into the effects of manual handling training in the health care and construction industries has found that manual handling training doesn’t result in any long-term change in what employees do in the workplace.

    Employers have to provide training in safe manual handling in order to comply with their legal responsibilities. Many view this as a ‘back-covering’ exercise; it means that they comply with the law and reduce their liability compared with not providing appropriate training.

    The reasons why employees don’t use safe manual handling techniques are many; lack of appropriate training is only ONE factor. There has also to be adequate supervision, risk assessment, policies, equipment, time, etcetera. Simply providing training, then assuming that people will do things differently at work, is too simplistic in my experience. And that doesn’t just apply to manual handling.

  2. Training or management issue?
    I think that this is confusing the matter slightly.

    For practically purposes most organisations do not allow lifting above a certain weight (it varies), and as such the training is in the use of the device – trolley, etc.

    the problem when lifting is not so much with heavy weights – but with the moving of small loads.

    For example how many people stoop to pickup a piece of paper or a paper-clip – rather than adopt a proper posture. How many people actually do a warm-up before undertaking a lift?

    The problem is not so much with manual handling training – but at work supervision and manager coaching. Changing the way an individual picks up an object is not just a skill but a habit – that habit cannot be changed in a 2hr training session – it take re-enforcement by the line manager in the workplace.

    As a patient handling trainer in the voluntary sector we are among a few groups who routinely lift very heavy weights. We assess our people at least annually and work on the principle to ‘catch them doing it right’ and ‘catch them doing it wrong’ immediate feedback is vital.

    Back injury is most often cumulative, lots of little bad lifts rather than one big one!

  3. Is this one of several reasons why manual handling training may
    Whether manual handling training is for moving human or non-human loads, the trainees are not usually handling the type of loads that they have to handle during the normal course of their work, in their normal work environment, under the normal conditions (especially the pressures) under which they work.

    For example, in relation to moving and handling patients, demonstration by the trainer of approved techniques on the trainees, and then getting the trainees to practise moving and handling techniques on each other, is very different from using the same techniques on real patients/clients in an actual healthcare setting.

    Is this one of several reasons why off-the-job manual handling training may not be effective?

    There is a place for training room instruction on the theoretical aspects, but I am very dubious about practising manual handling in a training room; I suspect that follow-up on-the-job manual handling training might be more effective. Who would find it acceptable if they had all their driving lessons in a classroom? You could substitute driving for swimming, golf, or flying, and many other skills-based activities.


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