Manual Handling Safety Campaigns

The construction safety team delivered a high impact program of manual handling training across the project for approximately 1,000 operatives.

As the construction of London Bridge station progressed, the need for an awareness campaign focused on the risks of poor manual handling of equipment and materials became a high priority. The two campaigns detailed here were developed to embed the messaging.

Following a review of project accident information, a trend was identified in the number of manual handling related incidents on site.

The London Bridge project team decided to take decisive action to change this trend.

  • The key challenge

Manual handling is a challenging subject and we wanted to do something dramatic to have big impact on the project. Faced with this objective the team began looking for a training company who could provide something different and memorable that could create a step change on site. These criteria attracted us to a manual handling training provider called Pristine Condition.

Campaign 1

Following an initial meeting with them, the team felt they could provide a training package perfectly tailored to suit the project’s needs. Work began to plan the major drive to reverse the trend of manual handling accidents that have occurred on site.

Traditional manual handling courses generally are unrealistic in their approach, Pristine Condition offered a training package where their approach was realistic and based in a real, workplace-based environment.

The team wanted to deliver a high impact program of manual handling training across the project for approximately 1000 operatives. The heath and safety team set about creating a memorable event on site that would resonate across the whole project. Two weeks before the event the supply chain management were invited to a meeting and asked what their key challenges were.

This helped to focus efforts on developing solutions to their manual handling challenges.

One week prior to the event was the anatomical risk assessment day where an assessor from Pristine condition toured the site observing first-hand what manual handling issues were present on site.

Countdown to the big event

It was quite literally lights, camera, action style planning for this event which involved temporary works, audio-visual specialists, logistics, scheduling and of course, promotion of the event. “Why do we need a reinforced stage?” was the first question. The answer came back: “We have an Olympic weightlifter opening our manual handling event by demonstrating a lift. When he’s done he will drop it on the deck. Any other questions?”

In preparation for this there was an unusual conversation with the temporary works team: “We needed a platform strong enough to withstand 175kg (approximately 410lbs) being dropped onto it from about 7ft high.”.

“We were surprised at the slightly odd request from the Health and Safety team and following an initial review of the brief we were a little unsure of how to support the load this guy was lifting! – Toby Rand, Temporary works Engineer, London Bridge.

The stage was set and everybody was primed for the event

Opening with a montage of weightlifting videoclips and energetic music, Brett Cleavely introduced Davy Snowdon, (Founder owner of Pristine Condition) to begin the event.

Davy bounded onto the stage jumping straight in explaining about the event. Sonny Webster is invited to the stage to demonstrate a lift of 175kg which he did effortlessly to rapturous applause and the event was off to a flying start.

As the principles were explained they were demonstrated by Davy on stage This was relayed via live video camera link and projected onto the purpose-built screen to the left of the stage, so it was visible from the back of the service yard.

Manual handling training results and lessons learnt

  • The theory and manual handling awareness training was given to 650 operatives working days and 200 working nights.
  • On-site practical training was given to 330 operatives working days and 108 working nights. Further training was planned for nights.
  • 18 supervisors were also trained to spot bad manual handling practice and intervene giving positive reinforcement for good practice. Further supervisors were trained over subsequent months.

Ongoing monitoring and embedment checks were carried out on the project to maintain the good practices delivered from the training.

Following the event, two trainers were deployed to visit work areas across the construction site and deliver manual handling training at the workface utilising the tools and materials at the locations.

These sessions, each approximately an hour long, were pre-booked with the supervisors to utilise the trainer’s time as effectively as possible.

Originally met with scepticism by some attendees, there was a realisation on people’s faces that there actually are practical solutions to the manual handling challenges faced each day.

James (Trainer from Pristine Condition in green hard hat) instructs the team on correct lifting methods in the workplace.

“The supply chain buy-in to the training we were planning was key to ensure maximum benefit” Brett Cleavely, SHE Advisor, London Bridge.

Campaign 2 – The “Don’t Do Your Doughnut” Campaign

The “Don’t do your doughnut” (see case study pdf) was used to make operatives think about what damage they could be doing to their intervertebral disks. These disks act as shock-absorbers between each of the vertebrae in the spinal column by keeping the vertebrae separated when there is impact from activity.

“From the incidents, close calls and observations coming in, we were seeing quite a few manual handling issues in early 2016. We wanted to something different to raise awareness and provide some site-based coaching for the workforce to help them carry out their works safely.

“I’ve been really encouraged by the feedback, so we’ll continue to work with Pristine Condition to support the implementation of better manual handling”. Mark Howard, Project Director, London Bridge

“We need to continue to challenge how training is delivered and the various methods we can use to do this. By delivering Manual Handling training in such a real and effective way will hopefully leave a lasting impression on the workforce and every time they lift they will consider how they can ‘keep their jam in!’”. James Elford, Project Manager, London Bridge