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How to Avoid Manual Handling Injuries in Care Homes



Manual Handling Injuries in Care Homes

Looking after people in a care home often means you’ll need to move residents or carry items on their behalf. Since physical labor is a routine part of the job, you must know how to do these tasks correctly to avoid injuring yourself.

Manual handling in aged care homes involves wheelchair transfers, personal care such as bathing and dressing them, and using hoists and slings to lift residents who can’t move. This is why all workers need to undertake the OHS course, which equips them with the proper training and knowledge to handle these demanding tasks.

Definition of Manual Handling

Manual handling refers to moving or transporting an object or load from one place to another. This can involve physical exertion such as lifting, twisting, pushing, carrying, lowering, or pulling. Although these tasks require bodily force, workers shouldn’t overburden themselves. Extreme physical stress can lead to musculoskeletal injuries such as shoulder and neck sprains or life-long injuries like chronic back pain. So how can you handle these tasks safely?

 Manual Handling Injuries in Care Homes

5 Tips on How to Avoid Manual Handling Injuries

Aside from taking the necessary course training before you embark on your job, here are other ways you can go about your job without exposing yourself to the risk of injuries.

Start by Identifying Potential Hazards in Care Homes

Being experienced will help you see potential accidents before they happen. Some factors increase the risk of injury in every workplace, which is why it’s important to conduct regular assessments to identify them. Go around your workplace and look for potential hazards such as slippery floors, confined spaces, obstructions, and clutter.

Remember to also check for faulty equipment and if there are enough tools for work. Additionally, go through the reports and see if there are recurring injuries and try to get to the root cause of the problem. Once you’ve gathered that information, talk to your fellow staff members about the risks and how you can solve or minimize them.

 Manual Handling Injuries in Care Homes

Use the Proper Lifting Techniques

Most back and arm injuries result from poor lifting techniques. So before you take on any lifting or unloading task, ask yourself, do you know how to do it properly? If you aren’t sure, here are some tips to help you:

  • Bend at the knees and not the waist – Always make sure to use your legs to lift and keep your back straight. This helps to distribute the weight across your body and implants more force on your feet which helps to avoid straining the spine.
  • Next, keep loads close to your body and hold objects close to your center of gravity to maintain balance and reduce the strain on your back.
  • Thirdly, avoid twisting movements and turn your whole body by moving your feet rather than twisting your spine.
  • Lastly, for heavy or awkward loads, always lift with a colleague to distribute the weight evenly.

Stick to the Recommended Work Practices

You should be well-versed in your job, including the work you will do and how to do it safely. Ensure you get the proper tools needed for any tasks and if a job requires more than one person to handle it, then ask for help from your colleagues. Other tips that can help minimize risks and ensure you are compliant with standard work practices include the following:

  • Ensure that workstations, such as medication trolleys or desks, are at the appropriate height to reduce bending and stretching.
  • Keep residents’ rooms and common areas organized and free of clutter to allow safe and easy movement.
  • Wear supportive, non-slip shoes to maintain good posture and prevent slips and falls.

 Manual Handling Injuries in Care Homes

Are You Fit For The Care Homes Job?

Manual handling exerts a lot of stress and force on the human body so you must be physically fit to handle any laborious tasks. If your daily tasks require manpower, then you need to exercise and do stretches to keep your body fit. It would also help to do some warm-up exercises before the tasks for the day begin. Every staff member should also ensure they get enough rest and at least eight hours of sleep. Your bedtime is when your body repairs itself and heals injuries. Finally, avoid being on duty when overly exhausted as this is when most accidents are likely to happen.

Regular Training and Education

Regular training sessions on correct manual handling techniques and the use of equipment can go a long way in preventing accidents. Periodic refresher courses ensure your employees’ skills are up to date and they also reinforce safe practices. Another way to ensure no one forgets these crucial instructions is by putting up displays like wall posters that explain how to handle different situations.

The Takeaway

Care homes are busy places, buzzing with lots of activities from food preparations, laundry services, and regular cleaning. This means great care should be observed at all times, not just by the caregivers but also by all the staff who work in various departments. Employees can minimize the risk of accidents by following the safety rules, keeping the place clutter-free, and reporting potential hazards.

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