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Agrial Fresh Produce

Bespoke Manual Handling Training

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In December 2022 Manual Handling Expert & Occupational Osteopath Jonathan Simmonds ran our Accredited 3 Day Manual Handling Instructor (‘Train the Trainer’) Assessor Programme onsite for Agrial Fresh Produce in Wigan covering job specific Manual Handling tasks across the factory floor.

 

Jonathan (pictured to the left observing the attendee) ran the Course with 7 attendees who following successful completion of the Course and passing of the Practical and Written Assessment would immediately be providing in house Manual Handling Practical Skills Training for the Agrial Wigan workforce; and some whom would be performing Manual Handling Risk & Ergonomic Assessments, so that the site maintains its compliance under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992.

The factory was operationally ongoing throughout the 3 Days to allow practical application of tasks during the Training Course.

Day 1. Following the Course introduction, the first day commenced with relevant laws and basic spinal anatomy enhancing the attendees' knowledge on biomechanics relevant to hazardous and safer Manual Handling practices, with the use of a professionally designed and visually engaging PowerPoint, video footage and a replica spine.

 

Throughout this part of the Course Jonathan referred to the Course Booklet, pointing out the key facts the attendees needed to know. This effectively allowed the (soon to be) Instructors to understand the consequences of poor Manual Handling technique and how it eventually leads to cumulative strain, injury and pain. Information was received positively with discussion and interaction.

The afternoon was initiated with basic lifting and lowering techniques. Incorporating the full squat lift and lower, semi squat lift and lower and the lunge lift and lower. This took place in an appropriate teaching location where ear and eye protection were not enforced allowing better communication and critique.

After demonstrations by Jonathan, attendees took turns to display their ability with each lift aided by the theoretical knowledge digested from the morning session. During this time Jonathan was able to correct any errors in attendees’ technique and refine their understanding of safe principles. The attendees then demonstrated the lifts in a teaching format to each other, verbally explaining what they were doing and why.

As the attendees were being prepared to provide an in house, Bespoke Manual Handling Training Programme, they were encouraged to critically analyse each other using the ‘Back Safe’ principles, so they were confident giving feedback to staff they were soon to train.

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Complete our Manual Handling Risk Management Questionnaire!

Firstly, how long does it take to write and process a RIDDOR report following a Manual Handling Accident? How long does it take to manage a Manual Handling Injury at Work Claim? Taking the small amount of time to download (click the Infographic to the left) and complete your answers to the 20 Questions will help you to organise your Manual Handling Risk Management strategy.​ Once you have completed the Questionnaire please send it to Gareth Milner via a direct LinkedIn message and meet him via Microsoft Teams.

Pushing and Pulling techniques were given great importance due to the high levels of pallet/ pump truck use on the factory and warehouse floors.

Commonly observed poor and unsafe techniques were demonstrated by Jonathan (shown in the gallery to the left) with explanations of the biomechanical effects and subsequent Musculoskeletal Disorders resulting.

 

Having the attendees practice these hazardous techniques during the Course practical is essential for them to make employees more aware of what they do, in order to help them come away from bad habits. Hazardous practices are also presented in our Food Industry Manual Handling Training Video. Please watch the Introduction at the bottom of the page.

This demonstrations of hazardous technique were followed by demonstrations of BackSafe techniques as shown in photographs below.

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Once you have assessed the load you should position yourself by:

  • Facing the load with one foot in front of the other

(the front foot heel should be just in front of the rear foot toes)

  • Placing the feet your normal hip width apart

  • Bending both your knees (no more than a semi-
    squat)

  • Placing your hands safely on the load, wrapping
    your fingers around its corners or gripping the handles

  • Keeping your elbows close to your body, level with the trunk

  • Keeping your spine upright, looking forward

To initiate movement of the load forward from a standing start drive your whole body forward with your leg muscles, keeping your elbows in, your spine upright and your head looking forward.

Pushing
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Facing the Load enables you to control the movement of the load and generally does not involve as much use of body weight (resulting in unsafe spinal posture) compared to pulling facing away from the load. Once you have assessed the load and it is not too heavy for pulling you should position yourself by:

 

  • Facing the load with one foot in front of the other (the front foot heel should be level with the rear foot toes)

  • Placing the feet your normal hip width apart

  • Bending both your knees (no more than a semi-
    squat)

  • Placing your hands safely on the load, wrapping
    your fingers around its corners or gripping the handles

  • Keeping your elbows close to your body, level with the trunk

  • Keeping your spine upright, avoiding a significant backward bend

Pulling
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True Story of Business Regret - Story 4

In writing his Book Sorry! We’re Closed Gareth Milner met and interviewed 7 people who suffered a considerable musculoskeletal injury from their Manual Handling tasks and who were each successful in their claim for damages.

 

‘Mr. Winter’ was employed by ‘Augusta Borough Council'. The task that initiated his herniated neck disc involved lifting and carrying a heavy sofa over a wall. You can see Emma Farrell's Book illustration of this task to the left. ‘Mr. Winter’ was awarded in Court the sum of £62,350. Click the illustration to read Story 4.

Jonathan's demonstrations were then followed by individual participation. The photograph below shows attendee Anna demonstrating and explaining correct pushing technique to fellow attendees. What error do you notice in her body positioning for the Pull in the photo to the right?

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Manual Handling Risk Management Products & Services - Osteopathic Solutions Ltd

Our complete Manual Handling Risk Management Programme

  • Are you having problems with Manual Handling?

  • Too many employees with musculoskeletal disorders?

  • Lost time accidents becoming more of a regular event?

  • Dealing with a current Injury at Work Claim?

  • Recently had a significant payout?

 

Call us on 0845 299 3513 to discuss your Manual Handling issues and see how we can help you take control of your Manual Handling Risk Management.

View our complete Programme by clicking our Brochure image to the left.

Day 2 of the Manual Handling Instructor (Train the Trainer) Assessor Programme began with an introduction to Risk Assessment with group participation in using the MAC Tool (Manual Handling Assessment Chart). For a worked example of the MAC tool please view our HSE Risk Assessment Tools page. The group watched and scored a Lifting and Carrying ​operation via video footage. After this Osteopathic Solutions' Manual Handling Expert Jonathan Simmonds brought together the group for discussion on their answers and how they came to them. Jonathan then delivered a presentation on Manual Handling Risk Assessment, supported by the HSE's Manual Handling Risk Assessment Checklists, so that the attendees understood the Task, Individual, Load and Environment (Manual Handling) risk factors. For our worked example of the HSE's Manual Handling Risk Assessment Checklists please view our HSE Risk Assessment Tools page.

Following this training room exercise, a review of practical application of Manual Handling technique was carried out in the factory. Attendees were individually encouraged to verbalise their handling technique to the rest of the group as if they were in a teaching/ Trainer situation.

The photograph to the right shows attendee Joshua explaining to the group the importance of the 5 BackSafe principles prior to demonstrating a lifting technique.

 

  • KEEP THE LOAD CLOSE

  • FACE SQUARE ON TO THE LOAD

  • BEND THROUGH YOUR HIPS AND KNEES

  • USE THE POWERFUL LEG MUSCLES

  • MAINTAIN YOUR SPINAL ‘S’ SHAPE

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The remainder of the afternoon was spent touring the factory and observing typical day to day Manual Handling techniques and practices of the workforce. The emphasis on this exercise was a critique by attendees from a Risk Assessment point of view, building on information received in the morning presentation.

 

Highlights of issues brought to attention by the attendees are shown in the below photographs. During 2022, Osteopathic Solutions provided Manual Handling Risk & Ergonomic Assessments for all 4 sites of Agrial Fresh Produce including their Florette site in Lichfield. In each of the final Risk Reduction Reports site Health & Safety Managers were made aware of the musculoskeletal consequences of their most hazardous tasks, including solutions to reduce risks of Lost Time Accidents and Injury at Work Claims. From our national experience of provision of Manual Handling Risk Management for Food Groups, the Agrial sites are no different regarding the hazardous nature of some of their tasks, loads and environments.

Thorough discussion was engaged in by all attendees who were now much more informed and aware of hazardous practices (for the musculoskeletal system) being carried out day to day in their factory. Points below highlight attendees' thinking and rationale when observing tasks;

 

  • The spinal movements performed 

  • What areas of the body are under mechanical strain

  • What musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) could happen

  • What the employer could do after assessment to reduce Manual Handling risks

  • What ‘BackSafe’ technique and practice is (if) possible!

Day 3 commenced with Jonathan taking the group through the 2 Hour Manual Handling Practical Skills Course structure and delivery as Agrial could well have had them delivering in house training the very next week. Following this important part of the Course, Jonathan took them back to the factory and also to an outside area for further scrutiny and analysis of attendees’ practical application. This incorporated Team Lifting and Carrying focusing on communication and coordination, as well as BackSafe technique and practice.

During this time the attendees were able to correct any remaining errors in each other’s technique and refine their understanding of safer principles. The attendees then demonstrated the lifts in a teaching format to each other, verbally explaining what they were doing and why.

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The importance of maintaining one’s own technique when demonstrating was also strongly emphasised, as many people are purely ‘visual’ learners only paying minimal attention to verbal instructions. This is something else to consider if teaching a workforce when English is not their primary language.

As the attendees were being prepared to provide an in house, Bespoke Manual Handling Training Programme, they were again encouraged to critically analyse each other using the ‘BackSafe’ principles, so they were confident giving feedback to staff they were soon to be training.  

 

All attendees successfully passed the combined Course Practical & Written Assessment on Day 3 and were signed off by Jonathan and by Osteopathic Solutions Ltd to become Agrial Wigan's Manual Handling Instructors and Risk Assessors, each receiving their Accredited Programme Certificate.

 

Another remarkable Accredited Programme delivered by Jonathan!

  • Marjan LinkedIn
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  • MARJAN LinkedIn
Osteopathic Solutions Ltd UK Team
  • Gareth Milner LinkedIn
Gareth Milner BSc (Hons) Ost.
Business Owner & Director
T: 0845 299 3513
Osteopathic Solutions Ltd UK Team
  • Emma Farrell LinkedIn
Emma Farrell BA (Hons) Design
Creative Director
Osteopathic Solutions Ltd UK Team
Ranko Seslija
Risk Management Advisor
Osteopathic Solutions Ltd UK Team
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