Manual handling

Manual handling can be called upon in any business. Whether you’re in the construction industry where load-bearing’s part of day-to-day duties, or in an office where the odd box needs moving, injuries can arise anywhere – which is why it’s imperative to prevent them.

It’s a prominent matter too. In 2016/17, manual handling injuries to employees accounted for almost one quarter (22%) of all workplace accidents.

What is manual handling?

Manual handling is when one or more employees either transport or support an object. ‘Object’ includes both animate – like people or animals – and inanimate – tools, boxes or furniture, for example – items.

The below activities constitute manual handling:

  • Lifting
  • Holding
  • Putting down
  • Pushing
  • Pulling
  • Carrying

Wondering where and how manual handling affects your business? Get in touch with our Health & Safety experts for hands on help.

GET A FREE CONSULTATION

Get in touch to organise a free audit of your business.


Why is manual handling safety important?

Workplace injuries

First and foremost, manual handling safety is essential to ensure the safety of your employees. If done improperly, manual handling can cause two types of injuries:

  • Musculoskeletal: if employees continually use an off the cuff technique, they could gradually pick up musculoskeletal problems. Generally speaking, these can be split into three categories: neck and upper limb disorders; lower limb disorders; and back pain and/or injuries.
  • Acute trauma: sudden accidents – like dropping an item or slipping while pushing an object, for example, can cause cuts, bruises, fractures or sprains, to name just a few.

Compensation claims

As an employer, it’s your responsibility to ensure the safety of your employees, and this includes making sure manual handling is managed safely – by avoiding, assessing and reducing any risks, and providing appropriate training and equipment.

If an employee sustains an injury because you’ve not upheld your end of the bargain, you could find yourself facing a manual handling compensation claim – which could result in an unfriendly pay out.

The cost of cover

Sticking with the financial ramifications, if an employee’s off work because they’ve picked up a manual handling injury, you might find yourself needing to bring in cover to maintain productivity and stick to deadlines – which, of course, comes at a cost.

Moving and handling

Managing moving and handling safety starts from the top – you. As an employer, it’s on you to ensure risks are identified, policies are communicated, precautions are implemented and regular training is provided.

To help with this, a competent person should carry out a moving and handling-specific risk assessment – and regularly review it.

Moving and handling in care

Care - My NHS

Typically, moving and handling is most prominent in the care industry – but that’s certainly not to say it doesn’t apply to other sectors.

Within the health and social care setting though, moving and handling safety is imperative not only for the wellbeing of employees, but for service users too.

It’s unlikely that moving and handling can be prevented in this setting, but you can introduce equipment to reduce any risks involved. Equipment could include things like:

  • Hoists – standing or mobile;
  • Slide sheets;
  • Various sized slings;
  • Bath lifts;
  • Turntables;
  • Electric profiling beds;
  • Bariatric equipment; or
  • Wheelchairs, to name just a few.

If you need a hand understanding how you can reduce moving and handling risks in your business, then get in touch with our Health & Safety specialists on 0345 844 1111 or email hello@citation.co.uk.

TILE manual handling

When it comes to manual handling safety, TILE is a handy acronym to abide by, which helps to minimise the risks associated with various aspects of manual handling.

TILE stands for: task, individual, load and environment. Let’s take a look at what each of them mean…

Task: look at each manual handling task and consider: which movement it falls into (lifting, holding, pushing, etc.); how many people will be needed for the job; if recovery periods will be required; and if any sudden movements are involved.

Individual: who’ll be carrying out the manual handling task? Are they pregnant? Do they have a disability that could affect them? Or any health problems that could prevent them from carrying the load? If you answered yes to any of these, the employee may need assistance, or the job may need to be re-assigned.

Load: assess the individual, animal or inanimate object that’s being moved, bearing in mind things like is it: heavy? Sharp? Hot? Cold? Sharp? Tricky to grip? Likely to move?

Environment: look at the area in which then object’s being moved from and to – as well as the route in between the two. Make sure there’s nothing that could obstruct the journey, like: space constraints; uneven, unstable or slippery flooring; trip hazards; and poor lighting, for example.

Keep calm and carry on

Man with headphones on

If you need help with manual handling, then let us handle it. With everything from producing policies and providing risk assessment templates, to training modules and reporting accidents, we’re here to make sure you don’t slip up.

Along with our 24/7 support and tools, once a year, one of our Health & Safety experts will inspect your business’ premises, identify any manual handling risks and let you know how to minimise them.

Interested? Get in touch with the team on 0345 844 1111 or hello@citation.co.uk today to see how we can support you.

Associated Resources

Manual handling poster

Download your FREE manual handling poster to put up around your business.

Download the guide

Health and Safety acronyms

A handy list of Health & Safety acronyms, and what they mean

Download the guide

Health and Safety checklist

Your free guide to confidence in Health & Safety

Download the guide

Health and Safety handbook template

Your very own FREE Health & Safety handbook template.

Download the guide

Health & Safety in the news: Timber firm fined for safety breaches

A woodworking firm has been fined thousands of pounds for repeatedly failing to maintain safety guards on its machinery. What...

Read the article

On the road in the cold: safety tips for employees

Whether it’s for their commute or part of their job, if your employees are on the road, there are certain...

Read the article

Health & Safety in the news: DSEAR breach leaves worker in a coma

A Bedfordshire waste company has been sentenced after two of its employees suffered burns whilst processing flammable aerosol containers. What...

Read the article

Read more Health & Safety news You can also get these alerts by email. Read more

Pop in your details and we'll call you straight back

We'll get back to you as soon as we can.