MSDs = >3rd of all work-related illnesses

Manual handling injuries are part of a wider group of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). This term covers any injury, damage or disorder of the joints or other tissues in the upper/lower limbs or the back.  In order to reduce the amount of musculoskeletal disorders, employers have a legal obligation under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 to perform a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risk to employees from the manual handling of objects.

This is a legal requirement and the Regulations must be complied with, they state:

  • Avoid manual handling operations, so far as is reasonably practicable avoided
  • Reduce the risk of injury, so far as reasonably practicable

Try to Avoid Manual Handling

Ask yourself whether the object needs to be moved at all – can the materials be delivered to the point they are to be used?

Can the task be automated or can we use a lifting aid?  Would a pallet truck, conveyor, hoist, lift truck or sack barrow help?

TILE and we don’t mean in your kitchen!

If you have to move an object ensure that you are assessing the following:

  • Task – What does it involve? Twisting, stooping or reaching?  Carrying the object over a long distance?  Strenuous pushing or pulling?
  • Individual – Consider the capabilities and characteristics of your employee(s). Pay attention to people who are physically weaker than others or are pregnant
  • Load – Establish the weight of the object. Ensure that it is stable.  Can it be broken down into smaller loads?  Plan your route
  • Environment – Consider where the object has to be moved to and from. Remove obstructions, improve lighting, avoid steps, provide PPE and ensure the individuals will not be restricted by their clothing

Need help?

Click here to see our list of manual handling courses, which are available at your site or at one of ours.

The HSE also has several tools that deal with risk assessing some of the hazards involved in manual handling.  Click here for further details

Contact us on 01480 210195 for further advice


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