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Manual Handling and Why Is It Important?

Manual Handling and Why Is It Important?

Manual handling is the leading cause of injuries and illness in the workplace. According to research, musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) account for most of these problems in Ireland. This is often as a result of repetitive strain injuries. A specific training is required to help protect employers and employees from the risks associated with incorrect manual handling.

But what is manual handling exactly and why else is it so important?

 

What is Manual Handling Exactly?

Manual handling refers to either supporting or transporting a load using bodily force and the use of the word “load” extends beyond inanimate objects to people and animals (e.g. lifting, pushing, pulling and carrying a load). If these type of actions are carried out without the correct body posture or procedure, there is always a risk of injury.

In fact, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) such as muscle, joint or bone problems are the most common types of work-related illness. This means incorrect load handling is ahead of stress, anxiety and depression when it comes to the cause of injuries or illness among employees.

Manual handling courses are designed to teach people how to identify, approach and perform physical tasks in a way that reduces the risk of injury. It’s also important to know about the legal requirements that oversee health and safety in the workplace.

 

Legal Requirements for Health and Safety at Work

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) is responsible for overseeing health and safety at the workplace in Ireland. There is also a piece of legislation, the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, which attaches responsibilities related to manual handling to both employees and employers.

Simply put, employers are required to protect the health and safety of their employees as a result of what they do. While these employers need to undertake regular risk assessments, there is also a need to provide a relevant training. The training has to focus on areas including load, task and working environment. Failing to adhere to these requirements can result in severe formal enforcement action by inspectors on behalf of the HSA.

 

Is manual handling training necessary?

Training is mandatory when manual handling in a particular role involves a risk of injury. If an employer is unsure as to whether or not such training is needed, it is usually best to stay on the safe side and proceed with this training for staff.

 

Why Manual Handling Training is So Important

Manual handling training helps prevent injuries in the workplace. It teaches employees to avoid tasks in which they might incur an injury. It also helps employers establish health and safety measures to protect against injuries in general.

The implications of related injuries is significant for both employer and employee. Such injuries are common and can happen in any type of workplace. The cause might be things like bad posture, heavy labour or repetitive movements. This last one is especially important to note. Many injuries are caused over time by tasks which require the repetition of a particular action. Such tasks are often the cause of musculoskeletal disorder (MSD).

For example, it is often the case that employees will need to move, lift or carry items as part of their daily work schedule. These actions usually involve stretching, bending or twisting. Without the appropriate training, an individual is likely to perform these tasks incorrectly. This is why musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) is such a big problem for employers and the number one reason employees need to take time off work as a result of illness.

 

The True Cost of Manual Handling Injuries at Work

HSA officials frequently carry out inspections and take enforcement action whenever necessary. This can result in unplanned costs to train employees or improve aspects of health and safety in the workplace. However, the cost of ignoring the importance of manual handling training lies elsewhere.

As a result of injuries and illness, employers often need to bear significant costs due to absenteeism, overtime and loss of productivity. The training of replacement staff can result in further costs. There is also the risk of having to pay compensation to the employees. As for the injured person, their inability to do the job as normal can have long-reaching consequences. Such consequences can affect the health, mobility or future job prospects in the same industry.

 

Employer Responsibility

Legislation requires employees to take care of their own health and safety. In addition, they must follow systems of work according to the instruction provided. Individuals are also responsible for reporting possible hazards and informing managers about incidents using the proper channels. Meanwhile, Employers need to carry out risk assessments on regular basis. Suitable equipment should be used to reduce the need for human touch. When physical handling is required, employers must provide manual handling training for their employees.

 

But what does a manual handling training course actually look like?

This training is designed to ensure participants are properly trained in the safe practices and principles of manual handling. The course should abide by legislation and provide sufficient guidance and education to ensure the best possible health and safety measures are in place.

You will find diagrams, videos and practical guides within manual handling training and this course should be designed to meet legal requirements by a qualified tutor. The course content should enable employees to describe techniques for manual handling and recognise hazardous situations, while understanding the law and their own responsibility to health and safety.

Participants will usually complete an online theory course for manual handling before arranging for a practical session which takes them through an assessment for safely lifting, pulling and carrying objects in the workplace.

Now, are you an employer in need of manual handling training for your staff? Maybe you need some training yourself? MyElearnSafety offers a Manual Handling Awareness Course that fully adheres to the legal requirements in Ireland for health and safety in the workplace.

Cyber Security & Social Engineering: Phishing

How to Recognize Phishing Attacks

Scammers use email or text messages to trick you into giving them your personal information. They may try to steal your passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. If they get that information, they could gain access to your email, bank, or other accounts. Scammers launch thousands of phishing attacks like these every day — and they’re often successful. A survey carried out by Censuswide, found that approximately 185,000 Irish people – have fallen victim to a phishing scam.

Scammers often update their tactics, but there are some signs that will help you recognize a phishing email or text message.

 

Phishing emails and text messages may look like they’re from a company you know or trust. They may look like they’re from a bank, a credit card company, a social networking site, an online payment website or app, or an online store.

 

Phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment.

 They may:

Here’s a real world example of a phishing email:

There are some obvious giveaways with the above email which tells us that this is a phishing attempt.

Once we hover over the ‘Click here to update your payment information’ link we can see that actual web address is a bogus one and not from Glivy. The multiple other email addresses in the address bar is another giveaway, as is the urgent nature of the email trying to prey on our insecurities. The recipient’s name is not added as a salutation, rather just ‘Glivy Subscriber’.  All of these are warning signs telling us that this is an attempt at phishing and that this email should be instantly blocked.

These are some of the topics which are covered in our new  Cybersecurity: Social Engineering course.

For any questions relating to cyber security training please contact Cormac on 01 278 1938.

 

Recognising and Promoting Positive Safety Behaviour

For employers there is a legal duty to provide a safe place of work for their employees wherever the place of work maybe. In these COVID-19 times this can and does in many cases mean remote working from home. Health and Safety requires all the stake holders to actively participate in safe work practice and to understand what is involved to create a safe place to work. Giving staff the information and tools to do this is a first step. When on-boarding staff, it is important to carry out a risk assessment that is personal to the employee and their role. Making sure they have the correct training, and any necessary certification is the next step and thereafter the employer needs to monitor compliance and performance.

 

Chair in Office

Office Ergonomics

 

An effective way of doing this is through an online solution that provides the records and training required. Having such a system that provides 24/7 access to information you can then go further to promote positive safety behaviour. By encouraging ongoing engagement with the core safety information and training you can see which employees are performing well and keeping engaged and up to date. You can incentivise staff to make sure they are aware of safe behaviour and you can encourage them to report unsafe issues that may arise.

It is true that a safe place of work is likely to be a more productive environment for the employee which all contributes to your bottom line. Promoting positive safety behaviour will reduce the risk of accidents and incidents and will reduce days lost to illness or accidents. It will also help you protect your company from the negative publicity and potential legal action arising from an accident in the workplace. Everyone in a working environment requires knowledge and training on safety behaviour and how to ensure a safe and healthy workplace. A desk bound job requires proper ergonomics and knowledge regarding breaks and what to do in an emergency. Even working in the home carries significant risks if a workstation is not correctly set up.

Our pattern and location of work is changing rapidly as a result of the pandemic and is likely to change permanently with a much larger degree of blended work where people attend the office on a part time basis. In this scenario it will become increasingly important to promote positive safety behaviour as the employer will have less control of the work environment while still being legally responsible for it. Even more reason to recognise and promote positive safety behaviour.

Myelearnsafety.com can provide more information on this topic as well as providing a solution to safety training and compliance monitoring. We would be delighted to hear from you with any of your concerns or problems.

Article  by Vincent Traynor

Please feel free to contact Cormac on 01 278 1938 or cormac@elearn.ie,  if you would like to discuss your health and safety needs further,  or take advantage of a complimentary course.

Why is Microlearning the Future for Health & Safety Training?

An accident at work is defined by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) as ‘An unplanned event resulting in death, or resulting in an injury such as a severe sprain or strain (for example, manual handling injuries), a laceration, a broken bone, concussion or unconsciousness. ‘An employer’s duties under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 includes the requirement for the provision of training. 

Most businesses do have a provision for safety training in place and most employers have (especially given the  current necessity) embraced online learning. This is a current trend. But what’s the trend for the future? 

Long, clunky, eLearning pieces (I’m sure you’ve seen these too!)  can be boring and laborious to employees. This is where microlearning comes into play.

 

What is Microlearning?

 

Micro-learning is a modern approach to delivering learning materials in small, bite-sized portions that target specific topics. The conciseness of these materials makes it easier to digest.

 

Millennials will make up a large part of the future workforce. Traditional models of eLearning just won’t cut it with this demographic, and will naturally be phased out. The popularity of microlearning is on the up as it’s the  ideal way to ensure that learning is received, digested and engaged with.

 

How to use Microlearning Effectively

The following are some examples of how microlearning can be applied in practice: 

 

Short and brief tips: When so much information is thrown at workers, the possibility of retaining all of it is very low. For effective transfer of knowledge, the microlearning objective should focus on just one concept.

 

Use interactive videos: The process of taking in information is better easier with the use of videos rather than bulky materials that cover an excessive amount. Even better if the video contains branching scenarios

 

Use of short quizzes for checking progress: The employees are provided with continuous access to these materials, and as each section is completed, they are required to provide suitable responses to the questions.

 

Use of gamification: Short games, or some gaming elements within the microlearning can be used by companies to increase interactivity, add an element of competition, the end goal being to help train their staff in health and safety more effectively. 

 

Shorter, asynchronous,  interactive courses with the above elements can benefit all health and  courses,  from Food Safety (HACCP), COVID-19 Compliance Officer, First Aid, Infection Prevention and control, to name but a few.

 

If you are looking for an effective way to streamline your safety training needs, Myelearnsafety.com offers a suite of health and safety courses to cover you. We offer a free trial to those who are interested, so you can see the benefits for yourself. 

 

For a free trial contact cormac@elearn.ie or call direct on 01 278 1938.