Planning your next big marketing event? Make sure the event crew you hire work safely, are aware of and heed the points below.
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974, it is the duty of every employer to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all their employees in the workplace. For event crews who are required to transport large and heavy equipment during set-up or when travelling to different locations, there must be extra care taken to ensure that crew are trained in correct manual handling to prevent physical injuries.
The most common methods of manual handling load for event crews are: lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, moving and supporting. So before you start, ask yourself whether the job can be done where it is? Can a trolley or pump truck be used for help? Can mechanised equipment such as a forklift be used? If no other options are available and manual handling is necessary, then before you start consider – load, individual, task at hand and environment.
Load: Is the load heavy or bulky? Has it got sharp edges? Is it unstable? How well can you grip it?
Individual: Consider capability of the handler – How strong are they? How agile are they? Are they trained?
Task: Regarding your job – What is the best method to carry the load? How far is it being carried? Is it going to involve awkward postures or twisting?
Environment: Look around and ask yourself – Is the route of travel clear of obstructions? Are there variations on the level such as slopes or steps? Is it windy, hot or cold? Is there sufficient lighting?
If the public is within the vicinity where you are unloading, hi-visibility vests must be worn and banksmen should be used to guide the heavy goods vehicle. Alternatively, pause work until the public has left the area.
Before you lift, remember to stretch and warm up. Even if you follow the procedures of manual handling, you must be ready to handle the load to avoid injuring your back or other parts of your body. To lift, lower yourself down to the load with bent knees and hips, preferably with a slight bend of back, hips and knees and never stoop or squat. Begin with a firm grip on the load and test the weight to give yourself an idea of how heavy it is and never carry anything too heavy to manage. Ask yourself if handling aids can be used instead and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you judge the load to be beyond your physical capability.
When you lift, keep the load close to your body to lessen the strain on your back and maintain a straight posture to avoid twisting or leaning sideways. Move with the load at a walking pace even if you are pushing the load. Rest and adjust your grip if the load moves too quickly or becomes slippery.
For high lifts or if transporting over long distances, use a table or bench to rest the equipment on and to change your grip. Wear gloves if the load is hot or cold or has sharp or slippery edges to prevent accidentally dropping it.
Unloading/loading from vehicle
Unloading and loading from vehicles are a part of an event crew’s job but it can also be hazardous. Only the driver should open and close the door as they will know how the vehicle is loaded and which equipment to avoid if it has come loose during transit. If the driver is unavailable, open the door with care and attention; before unloading/ loading ensure the doors are secured which can be a risk in windy conditions.
Never load the vehicle without the driver’s permission or knowledge and never assist in strapping the load unless you have been instructed how to and the driver is happy for you to do so.
If you are using a ramp make sure it is at the most shallow gradient possible and take care when wheeling the load down the ramp by making sure there are enough crews available to help.
Although this is not an exhaustive guide following it will prevent any physical injuries which could affect your wellbeing and be costly to your employers.