AIBU re manual handling request

(15 Posts)
orenisthenewblack Mon 01-Aug-16 11:40:20

I work in an office with one other member of staff. We're both short women. Usually, we do marketing and stuff. Nothing to do with deliveries etc.

In the past 6 months we have had to move a lot of things in our two story office building, including boxes and boxes of promotional stuff and leaflets and furniture. We had to move upstairs due to damage downstairs, it was something we had no choice about. We've done it and we're proud, but it was a killer. The stairs are steep and the boxes heavy and awkward. We've had no manual handling training.

Bosses work for another office miles away and did nothing to help with this process. They also expect us to carry boxes around to another outlet in our cars. Last week a parcel was delivered here, 4 foot in height and very heavy, and I was asked to carry it upstairs for safekeeping. I refused as it was too heavy. Would have been too heavy for both of us but colleague was off anyway. Boss tried really hard to convince me to carry it upstair , even asking me to take stuff out of the box. I refused again.
Next week we're expecting a delivery of 50 or more boxes which I just know they will want to be stored upstairs. I'm unsure of how heavy they will be, but I don't want to do it!! I do not want to carry them upstairs and do this 25 times. I'm knackered thinking about it!
What can I say, what can I do? AIBU?

FinderofNeedles Mon 01-Aug-16 23:38:32

I've had some basic manual handling training. The first rule is: avoid it if you can! Ie, can the stuff be stored downstairs and not moved at all? Can whoever delivers them take them upstairs?

If not, what can be done to minimise the risks, eg is there a lift and a trolley to wheel them on? Can the contents be separated out into smaller packages?

It does sound like a lot of moving, but I'm not sure what else to suggest, sorry.

orenisthenewblack Tue 02-Aug-16 07:18:21

Thanks for replying.
Unfortunately there's no lift. We could leave them downstairs as long as we put them on a table (flood risk) so bringing a table downstairs might be a solution. Depending on the size of the boxes of course!
From your post I gather I'm not completely BU.
I will leave them downstairs until they come to help maybe. At least there will be four of us then and they will see for themselves how hard it is

MrsBertMacklin Tue 02-Aug-16 08:02:00

Your employer has a legal duty on this (Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992) and if they haven't responded to your perfectly valid concerns about the task by telling you that it's been risk assessed and it's fine, it probably hasn't been!

My advice would to be email them, advising that:
You're concerned that completing manual handling tasks on a regular basis with no training is going to cause inadvertent injury
You would like training and a risk assessment completed, by someone competent to do so

If they continue to be evasive, let them know that you have a duty of care to yourself, not to knowingly complete activities that would cause injury to yourself or others (what happens if you drop something onto your colleague?) so you won't be completing any duties which you believe to be hazardous, until the requests you have made are completed. This isn't 'striking', you can still handle tasks you feel able to...

From a legal position, be aware that once you go on the record with concerns that you are putting yourself at risk, if you do get injured, employers MIGHT be able to defend a claim by evidencing that you were aware of the risk, but chose to complete the task anyway. I've had this rather bizarre defence successfully used by insurers handling a claim in my old workplace.

JinRamen Tue 02-Aug-16 08:21:20

All the marketing people I know regularly carry boxes of brochures and signs.

That aside, do ask for training if you feel it is needed.

However it does sound a little stubborn, surely. You know how to carry a box? Yes it is a pain but generally everyone has a part of their job they don't enjoy. Sorry.

FinderofNeedles Tue 02-Aug-16 23:11:30

You know how to carry a box?

Yes, but it's the lifting that usually causes injuries, not the carrying itself! Hence the need for training, both in 'manual handling' and in carrying out risk assessments to scope out the situation.

Take Bert's advice.

gandalf456 Tue 02-Aug-16 23:19:34

I have spinal issues which hasn't been helped by my job which involves a lot of lifting. I have been trained but, unfortunately, the managers do expect too quick a pace which has resulted in my lifting things wrong due to feeling rushed. I have often been given inappropriately heavy stuff too which could have been given to younger and stronger staff or some efforts could have been made to make the stuff lighter.

So, now I do say no if it's too heavy and go at my own pace so yanbu. Are you really the only one who can do it? Could your manager and other staff not muck in? Is moving stuff part of tour job?

HairyMoose Tue 02-Aug-16 23:22:01

Would you be able to hire a handy man type of person who can do it for you?

orenisthenewblack Wed 03-Aug-16 11:41:14

They'll be two of us here to do it. I know I'm being stubborn. I can carry a box. I just don't want to lug 25+ boxes up flight of stairs. Physically, my knees will groan. Mentally, I will hate my job!

Thank you for all your responses.

Stevefromstevenage Wed 03-Aug-16 11:49:15

YANBU your employees are. They are also behaving in an illegal manner. MrsBert has given great advice. The advice Jin has given may result in you or your colleague being injured which obviously is not worth the risk.

JinRamen Wed 03-Aug-16 13:28:19

I did say ask for training!

flowery Wed 03-Aug-16 14:38:49

If you haven't dealt with deliveries in the past what's changed that you are being expected to now? Who used to deal with this stuff before?

Stevefromstevenage Wed 03-Aug-16 16:50:25

I think they were on the ground floor before flowery so presumably carrying upstairs was not an issue.

flowery Wed 03-Aug-16 17:12:53

Yes I understand, but she said they didn't previously have anything to do with deliveries at all,, so presumably someone else dealt with them even if it didn't at that point involve carrying upstairs.

orenisthenewblack Wed 03-Aug-16 17:29:05

New stock used to be left downstairs in a storeroom. Storeroom moved upstairs because of flood risk. ( flooded first time in ten years this year)
We usually get no more than four boxes at a time, but this order is huge.

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