Manual handling (lifting, carrying and handling of loads) is one of the most common causes of injury at work resulting, typically, in muscular strains or physical injury. The Health and Safety (Manual Handling Operations) Regulations 1992 require every manual handling task to be managed in a way that minimises the risk to those involved. The management process required is, in essence, a risk assessment. The starting point is to consider whether the manual handling task is necessary or if the work might be organised differently, or perhaps mechanised. Major alteration and remedial actions may not be immediately possible, but may be identified as a future goal.
Assessing the risk
Where manual handling is essential, a risk assessment of the task(s) must be carried out. Responsibility for this should be assigned to appropriate members of staff who may also require some training in the risk assessment process. Where the risk is low, assessments can sometimes be done generically, for example, by looking at a particular type of handling operation. However, where risks are higher, the risk assessments will usually need to be specific to the task .
Staff members who are regularly involved in manual handling as part of their work must be provided with formal training and should also receive periodic refresher training. SEPS arranges manual handling courses on a cost-recovery basis. Please see our training information pages or contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. (Note that these are for University staff or students only and are not available to external organisations or individuals.)
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
In some cases protective clothing such as safety footwear, heat resistant gloves etc. will have to be provided to staff involved in manual handling tasks. See SEPS guidance on personal protective equipment (PPE).
SEPS guidance on manual handling and a specific manual handling assessment checklist can be downloaded from the links below: