Identify the regulations covering manual handling and the risks associated with lifting and carrying children. Manual handling includes any occasion where any item, person or object is lifted, lowered, pushed, pulled or physically moved in any way. The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 require employers to make an assessment of the risks associated with any manual handling operations that are of concern to the school. Your employer should make sure that you always follow correct guidelines when lifting pupils or equipment.
Regular manual lifting and handling of children, particularly those with physical disabilities, can present significant risk to both the child and the staff. Only those staff, whose contract of employment requires them to lift children and where they have been suitably trained, should regularly lift children. When working with pupils with special educational needs, lifting them with the use of suitable hoists or other equipment to aid moving reduces these risks to a minimum.
When lifting children, the same principles as for lifting any object should be applied. However, the potential for the child to move whilst being lifted must be considered. You should be fully aware of the risk of spine and back muscle injury and always follow the correct procedure. One quarter of all accidents involving members of staff in schools are caused by moving heavy objects. It is your employer’s duty to ensure that you always follow the correct guidelines when lifting equipment and children.
Here are some key points to remember when lifting and carrying to ensure good practice: •Only lift when absolutely necessary. •Before you lift, always check how heavy the object or pupil is. •Share the load with another person, if necessary. •Make sure you are holding the pupil or object securely. •As you lift, keep your back straight and bend your knees. •If a pupil or object is too heavy, put it down slowly and do not try to continue. An example of a child who requires lifting in a primary school setting. Child L has physical disabilities and uses a wheelchair.
The learning support assistant responsible for him has been on a special training course for Manual Handling and Lifting. The assistant only lifts child L when necessary. Child L sits at a higher desk and remains in his wheelchair for most of his learning. He can manoeuvre out of his wheelchair onto a bench, then onto the carpet by himself. On occasions, when it is not possible to take the bench to another learning area the assistant will lift child L out of the wheelchair, using the techniques learnt from the course.