Manual handling is a physical activity that commonly takes place on all fishing boats. Manual handling can involve lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving loads.
Incorrect manual handling may result in back injury or other musculoskeletal problems for fishermen.
Where possible avoid manual handling by using mechanical lifting equipment such as a crane or lifting derrick or for example, when ice is required, make arrangements for fresh ice to be delivered directly into the fish hold.
If this is not possible and manual handling must be carried out, reduce the risk of injury by:
- Taking a critical look at how heavy items are moved around the boat and how the catch is handled. For example, when lifting boxes containing either the catch or ice, consider the load and if necessary plan or arrange a two-man lift.
- Improving the workplace layout and design so that less repetitive movement is needed. For example, provide a worktop on deck with a suitable working height, to avoid repeated stooping, bending, twisting and lifting when handling the catch.
- Changing the load to make it lighter or easier to hold. For example, divide fish into smaller amounts so as to reduce the weight when lifting.
- Training crew members in good practice and the use of good handling techniques.
- Always stretching your muscles before starting to work. Be conscious of lifting techniques and use your legs , not your back when lifting, keeping the load close to your body.