BLOCKS AND BRICKS
Blocks and other masonry units are common construction products. Regularly handling heavy units can present significant risks of developing musculoskeletal problems.
Assess: Lifting and handling blocks is a highly repetitive task and can involve lifting, twisting and lowering. The risk of injury increases with the weight of the block and when laying above shoulder / below knee height.
Prevent: Thinking about limiting the risks should be considered at the design stage and before work starts by selecting the lightest product to meet the performance criteria for the design. For example, a cladding system, cluster laying or poured concrete foundations instead of block laying. Also selecting the lightest block that meets the performance criteria for the design.
Control: Even if you minimise some of the risks this way, you are still likely to have to lay blocks. Control the risk by setting out to avoid handling the blocks as much as you can. Get them delivered as close as possible to the point of use. Set blocks down on level ground where possible and use handling equipment such as rough terrain pallet trucks where appropriate if you need to move blocks around the site. Arrange the work area to avoid over-reaching or twisting. Control the laying height and set working platforms so that block laying can take place between chest and knee height.
Review: Check site working practices to ensure that the correct controls are being used.
KERBS AND PAVING
Kerbs and paving material are common construction products that can be very heavy, as such, regularly lifting, carrying or handling them can present significant risks of injury.
Prevent: Think about limiting the risks before work starts by avoiding the need for heavy products altogether. For example, lightweight kerbs constructed of alternative materials, smaller paving slabs, or block paving. Where heavy products cannot be avoided, use fully mechanised positioning and laying systems. For example vacuum devices or mechanical grabs.
Control: Even if you minimise some of the risk this way, you may still do other work that cannot be fully mechanised. Control the risk by partial mechanisation for as much as possible, for example, getting the paving near its final position.
Review: Check site working practices to ensure that handling aids are being used correctly and procedures are being followed. It is also important to maintain equipment.