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HR tip: Heavy lifting and sex discrimination

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These questions are being answered by Learn HR, a market leader in the provision of HR and payroll training and nationally-recognised professional qualifications.


Question:
"Our warehouse staff are required to carry out a great deal of heavy lifting, so as a result we tend to recruit only men. Is this a problem? We may be discriminating but it is for a sound reason."

HR tip:
Your intentions are sound, but legally dangerous. Women may be ferociously strong. Therefore give all applicants a test. Give them a typical load to lift and see how they cope.

However, you may also be at risk under health and safety legislation so you should consider the provision of mechanical lifting aids. These might not only enable weak women – and weak men – to do the work, but may also reduce the incidence of industrial accidents and absence due to back injuries.

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One Response

  1. surprise at the question
    When I was teaching on such topics about 6 years ago, I used a case study dealing with similar question. Employing men only and expecting them to lift heavy loads was not looked on as acceptable practice then. The answer, as the army also found, was to use machines to assist!

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