Waste – Avoid it being a pain in the back!

Manual handling injuries can occur wherever people are at work. Heavy manual labour, awkward postures and manual material handling are all cited by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) as key contributors to back pain and musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). Between 2010 and 2011, the NHS recorded 7.6m working days as lost due to work-related back pain, while the HSE reports that more than a third of over-three day injuries are caused by manual handling. It is estimated that over 1 million people in the UK suffer from a musculoskeletal disorder or back pain caused or made worse by work. As an employer it makes good business sense to minimise risks from manual handling for your employees. Wherever possible the regulations require employers to avoid the need for hazardous manual handling, and to assess and reduce the risk of injury. Training is important. Tips and advice on good handling techniques for lifting, pushing and pulling loads will improve the safety of employees involved in manual handling. One of the biggest causes of back injury at work is lifting or handling objects incorrectly and waste handling can be particularly problematic.

Overflowing bags of rubbish and piles of cardboard are not just expensive to get rid of they are also bulky, heavy and awkward to move and store. Installing a small compactor and a baler will help to reduce the amount of space that rubbish takes up and make it easier for employees to manoeuvre. Keeping walkways and exits clear of rubbish also reduces the risk of fire and minimises the need for manual handling of waste. In addition, they can help reduce people tripping or slipping on waste material by keeping the waste neat and tidy, making it a win, win situation all round. An added benefit of having a baler is the ability to sell your waste. Correctly segregated waste which is baled in standard sizes will be collected by many recyclers free of charge and with significant volumes of high value waste, such as high grade paper, you may be able to negotiate a payment from the recycler. By compacting waste, most companies can halve the number of waste collections they have to pay for, achieving significant savings in the process.

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