Moving and handling materials in construction: early findings from HSE’s latest health campaign

A snapshot of good and bad manual-handling practices on construction sites across Great Britain has been revealed in six weeks of inspections.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out more than 1,000 inspections in October and November, checking how workers were moving heavy, bulky and awkward-to-handle materials.

The inspections by Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety revealed many examples of good practice.

These included the use of mechanical equipment to handle large glazing panes, using small inexpensive air bags to help to position heavy doors when being installed, and the use of all-terrain pallet trucks to move blocks and brick-lifters to carry bricks around site.

But HSE inspectors also found many examples of poor practice, including a worker lifting an 80kg kerb on his own without any assistance from machinery, lifting aids or colleagues, and a 110kg floor saw that had to be moved into and out of a work van by two operatives at a street works site, both of which resulted in enforcement action.

Working in construction is a physically demanding job and many construction workers suffer injuries to muscles, bones, joints and nerves that affect their health and ability to work

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