When you’re working in or around manholes, then one thing you have to be concerned about is the risk of injury. According to PERMA in New York, the average cost of an injury caused by lifting a manhole cover is $14,838. Each year, approximately 15 people make claims for musculoskeletal injuries caused by lifting these covers.

What kinds of injuries are common when working with manholes?

Manhole injuries include:

  • Smashed fingers
  • Foot injuries
  • Strained backs

You need to remember that a manhole cover could weigh up to 500 lbs. On average, they’re 110 pounds, making them heavy even for those who are in good shape. The awkward angle needed to open these manhole covers also makes it more likely that someone will get hurt when trying to lift them.

How can employers help reduce the risk of injuries from lifting manhole covers?

One good way is by employing the use of a cover lift dolly. This is a magnetic lift that picks up a manhole cover with little stress or strain on employees themselves. The units can be expensive, ranging from $1,200 to $1,800, but they are much cheaper than having an employee file a workers’ compensation claim for injuries caused from lifting a manhole cover.

Using the right equipment to lift a manhole cover is a good idea for busy workers, even though the assistance equipment can be costly. If you do obtain this equipment, then everyone who will use it should be trained to use it correctly to minimize the risk of additional injuries taking place. With caution, you can work with your employer to help reduce the risk of a manhole-related lifting injury in the future.