The weight of responsibility
QWe are thinking about using more volunteers on the shoot to help with feeding, moving bales, etc, but what are the legal weights that they can move? Are there any restrictions?
AJONNY CROCKETT replies: Regardless of whether you are paying people or not, you have a legal obligation and duty of care towards anyone helping out on the shoot. The weights people can shift are different for men and women and are also different depending on what height the objects are to be moved at. The important thing is to properly risk-assess each activity to determine if it is safe, identify the hazards, and decide what can be done to make an action less risky.
The general guidelines are that men should not attempt to lift anything more than 25kg without assistance, and women should not lift more than 13kg without assistance. Assistance could be another person or mechanical assistance (sack trolleys, hoists, etc). If an object is to be lifted above shoulder height then these weights are reduced to 10kg for men and 7kg for women. If the object is to be held away from the body then the weights are further reduced to 5kg and 3kg respectively.