Manual handling regulations

06 February 2018

Manual handling is the transportation or support of animate or inanimate objects – people, animals, furniture or equipment, for example.

As an employer, to meet your manual handling responsibilities, there are two sets of regulations you need to comply with: the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992, and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

So, let’s take a look at what you need to do to keep on top of both.

Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992

Under these regulations, as far as is reasonably practicable, you must:

1. Avoid the need for your employees to undertake manual handling if there are any risks of them being injured. Ask yourself questions like, does the object actually need to be handled? Could it be handled in a different way?

If your work around is to bring in equipment or machinery to take over, bear in mind that this in itself could bring new risks to the table, which will need to be carefully assessed.

2. If it isn’t reasonably practicable to eliminate the need for manual handling that poses a risk, you must: conduct thorough risk assessments for the relevant manual handling tasks; reduce any identified risks as much as you possibly can; and provide affected employees with sufficient training on how to undertake the manual handling as safely as possible.

You could reduce the risk by introducing equipment to assist with the movement, like a sack trolley or hoist, for example.

3. Review any risk assessments if you suspect they’re no longer valid – because the person or process has changed, for example, or if there’s been any significant changes to the Manual Handling Operations Regulations.

Any and all risk assessments must be carried out by a competent person, and must robustly cover all manual handling operations and relevant factors.

When assessing the risk involved with manual handling, be sure to take into account things like:

  • The employee’s physical capability to carry the object;
  • The clothing and footwear he or she is wearing; and
  • Their knowledge and training of manual handling safety.

What’s meant by ‘reasonably practicable’?

manual handling safety

Unfortunately, there’s no clear cut answer to this, as it’s something that’ll vary from business to business.

You should make a judgement call as to whether something’s reasonably practicable by weighing up the level of risk posed, against the measures you’d need to control those risks – by ‘measures’ we mean the time, money or trouble involved.

For example, if the potential risk of a manual handling task is that the employee could do serious damage to their back, and the solution is to purchase a hand truck, the cost involved would be reasonable.

Manual handling away from work

It’s not a case of out of sight, out of mind. If you’ve employees who undertake manual handling away from your workplace – either at another premises or delivering goods, for example – you must set out safe working practices for them too.

You should co-ordinate with the hosting employer to arrange suitable measures (where possible and relevant), and provide the employee with sufficient information on how to safely carry out the work.

With this in mind, similarly, you have manual handling safety responsibilities for visiting employees on your site. For more information on your duties, get in touch with our Health & Safety experts.

Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

These regulations apply to the management of all areas of Health & Safety – including, of course, manual handling.

Under these regulations, you have a legal obligation to assess and manage all risks that arise from work-related activities.

Manual handling policy

Manual handling policies play an important part in eliminating, reducing or controlling any related risks.

Effective policies should include:

  • A description of what manual handling is;
  • Why manual handling safety is important;
  • Associated hazards; and
  • Employees’ responsibilities.

Not a pro when it comes to policies? With us by your side, you don’t need to be!

How we can help

manual handling safety advice

Here at Citation, we get that regulations can be hard to get your head around. From what they actually require of you to legislative changes, there’s lots to get to grips with – which is why we’re here to take the load off you.

Our industry-leading Health & Safety experts will visit your business, identify any gaps in your current manual handling processes, and advise on any recommendations.

On top of that, you’ll get access to training modules and sector-specific risk assessments on our online management platform – Atlas, and unlimited support with our 24/7 advice line.

To get in on the action, get in touch with the team on 0345 844 1111 or hello@citation.co.uk today, to see how we can support you.

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