Work is a strain for UK’s heavy lifters

An estimated 468,000 people in the UK suffer from a work-related back injury and 74,000 new cases were reported last year, latest statistics from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) have shown.

A survey by the HSE of various occupations when it comes to manual handling has found supermarket home delivery workers top the league of the UK’s heavy lifters, picking up an average load of 4,000 kgs a day.

Of the six professions surveyed, baggage handlers lifted up to 960,000 kgs over a year – the equivalent to 369 black cabs – while teachers, who officially lifted the smallest weights, still carried up to 48,000 kgs a year – the equivalent to 20 black cabs.

Builders lifted 852,000 kgs, farmers 796,800 kgs, nurses 182,880 kgs and mothers 144,000 kgs. The average weight lifted was 2,303 kgs.

The study also looked at various case studies. A nurse, Jessica Most, found that her typical day usually involved every type of manual handling task, including lifting supine patients from ambulance trolley to A&E trolley and possibly again to a bed.

Other tasks included assisting patients with dressing, washing and going to the toilet, and helping them get from the bed to the wheelchair.
“I also assist the doctor during his patient checks by lifting the patients into a sitting position or moving them round,” she said.

Her amount lifted per day came to 762 kgs, based on lifting 10 patients per day at an average weight of 12 stone, said the HSE.

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