HSE tackles sector back pain

HSE addresses back-injury problem in construction with specific guidance

Back injuries cost the construction industry around £0.7bn a year,
accounting for two-thirds of total sickness absence, the Health and Safety
Executive has found.

In response to these high figures, the HSE has launched guidance on safe
manual handling in the sector. Backs for the Future – Safe Manual Handling in
Construction has the backing of the Construction Confederation and the GMB
Union.

Lorraine Shepherd, HSE occupational health inspector for the construction
sector, said, "Occupational health professionals should find this guidance
helps them to understand how everyone in construction has a part to play in
reducing manual handling risks,"

"They can use the guidance to encourage and guide the industry towards
better planning, control and management of manual handling risks," she
added.

The guidance sets out basic principles for dealing with manual handling
risks and provides ideas for solutions to different handling problems. It
includes 27 case studies where real solutions were implemented on site, showing
effective ways in which manual handling risks can be reduced in practice.

Commenting on the launch, HSE chief inspector of construction Kevin Myers
said, "Workers are quite literally putting their backs out trying to help
their employers. It is about time their employers put their backs in to trying
to help their workers."

Copies of Backs for the Future, ISBN 0 7176 1122 1, priced £8.50, are
available from HSE Books, PO Box 1999, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 2WA. Tel: 01787
881165, or fax: 01787 313995.

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