One in three accidents at work occurs in connection with “manual handling”.
Employers owe a legal duty of care to their employees. The duty of care includes taking reasonable steps to ensure the health and safety of employees and to avoid accidents at work. The precise terms of the duty of care may be found in the law of negligence or it may be found in a statute, as a precise legal rule.
In the case of the obligation to avoid injury through manual handling, a duty of care is found in the law of negligence and in the provisions of The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007.
Manual handling includes lifting, pushing, pulling or turning weights or objects. It includes doing these things to people. Nurses are at considerable risk of injury from this cause.
See the advice on the topic from the Health and Safety Authority HERE.
In principle, an employer is obliged to provide mechanical equipment to execute manual handling operations. Manual handling by the worker personally is to be avoided where possible. Of course, the injury may not be to the back; it may affect the arm or shoulder or legs.
The risks in manual handling are known; they arise from loads that are too heavy; too large; difficult to grasp; unbalanced or unstable; difficult to reach, or of a shape or size that obscures the worker’s view.