Friday April 1, 2022
Cawarden’s Group Marketing Manager Emma Attwood recently caught up with long-term C&D demolition expert John Woodward to discuss the upcoming changes recommended by the Health & Safety Executive about manual handling training.
EA: I understand The Health & Safety Executive is considering changes to the way that we deliver manual handling training.
JW: Yes. They have been concerned for a while that the traditional way of delivering manual handling training in the classroom has become too generic and doesn’t really address the issues on-site.
EA: So what are the proposed changes?
JW: They are encouraging us to be more specific with the training so it relates more closely to the actual work being done at the time. We will still use the “Make Lite Work of It” message where the acronym LITE relates to Load, Individual, Task, Environment, but the training will be delivered on-site, in the canteen, or out in the field in the form of a toolbox talk, delivered by someone such as the Site Manager or a visiting H&S Officer.
EA: Will the toolbox talk have to be something like a PowerPoint for example? I am concerned that some site managers may not be comfortable delivering a talk like that.
JW: No, what will happen is the site manager will identify a specific area of concern for manual handling, like for example, removal of ceiling tiles by hand from a grid system.
That work involves working on podium steps, pushing the tiles up through the grid, removing the tiles from the grid and twisting the body to pass the tiles to a colleague who then bends to place them onto the ground or into a bin for removal.
The site manager will then identify the issues using the LITE acronym and talk the team through the elements of the operation, allowing the team to discuss ways to improve things. That way we get co-operation at all levels and the team understand specific risks better.
EA: Will the training be done every few months or annually as it is now?
JW: No, the idea is that by making it a toolbox talk, the training is done as and when a task changes so some contracts that are heavy with manual handling may have four or five specific manual handling toolbox talks in a particular month. Each will relate to a specific manual handling issue, however, and will be a way of drip-feeding training and information that is relevant. That way the training becomes more enjoyable and better received.
EA: Will the toolbox talks be only for the soft strip gangs?
JW: No, because they are designed to be specific for a particular task and easy to deliver via toolbox talks they can be used in any situation, for example in the office if the office team has to move files from shelves or with machine drivers who have to grease machines, fill them with diesel or remove and replace cab screens.
A simple format from your H&S lead will mean the key points are covered every time, attendance will be recorded and knowledge of the subject will grow.
EA: Do you see this as an improvement on the current system?
JW: Yes, very much so. In the Health & Safety Executive Report for the year to end of March 2021, there were 470,000 work-related musculoskeletal injuries, which is 28% of all work-related ill health cases. That is far too many.
Generic classroom training does work to reduce those numbers as there has been a downward trend over the last three years, but specific targeted training will certainly improve it further.
EA: John thank you for your time, we really appreciate it.
JW: Emma, it is my pleasure. Cawarden values its workers and wants to do all that it can to improve their methods of working and prevent injury of any type.
I believe that introducing this new form of training will help to keep the workforce engaged with the issue and allow them to go home safely at the end of the day. I enjoyed the chat and I hope that I can talk to you again for future features.