“There was considerable evidence that principles learnt during training are not applied in the working environment, i.e. there is little transfer of training from the learning environment to the working environment.” So states the HSE’s Research Report 583 made after reviewing 84 different papers on Intervention studies, questionnaire based surveys and reports from expert groups assessing the effectiveness of Manual Handling training.
These findings could broadly be backed up by the findings that since 2012 (when we altered how we count injuries and ill health under the conditions imposed by the revised RIDDOR Regulations) the graph of incidents reported has remained “Broadly flat in recent years” stated in HSE’s Historical Trends 2017 in attached picture.
So how can it be that we can make all this expensive manual handling training really effective? Like the local company in Chesterfield I trained at today, you could include as many supervisors as possible onto our manual handling Train the trainer course. If the trainers who naturally become the main fountain of manual handling knowledge, are also the ones to enforce safe working practice then maybe there is a good chance that there really is an overall improvement. Without a deeper look, improvements are normally expected in worker behaviour and their adoption of safer lifting techniques, however the same supervisors will also perhaps be best placed to feed back suggested organisational improvements to layout and design of tasks and areas. Manual handling organisational improvements really are the best area to concentrate on according to HSE research report RR500.
Our course not only covered much of the standard manual handling training but also how to complete detailed assessment of the risks to different tasks in a variety of ways. The course also made a great point of looking deeper into ergonomics to understand the principles of good ergonomics and the potential impact on workers from poor ergonomics. On reflection, manual handling must be seen in context of the greater ergonomic picture and how recognised principles are applied generally to the whole field. As for Teacher training? Yes we covered that too. The employer who commissioned the training (and who attended the course) was taken to a level which far exceeded his expectations. He came back to see me at the end of the course with a smile and a hand shake.
We are next holding a manual handling train the trainer course on: 7th, 8th and 14th June. Take the opportunity while it is there. Above all else, it would be morally unacceptable not to do so.