Manual Handling

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For more information on Manual handling click here for the relevant chapter of the TUC guide to health and safety "Hazards at Work

Manual handling means more than simply lifting or carrying something. The term is used to describe activities including lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, carrying, moving, holding or restraining an object, animal or person. It also covers activities that require the use of force or effort such as pulling a lever or operating power tools.

Over 30 per cent of all accidents reported to the HSE are connected with manual handling. Every year 300,000 people are forced to endure the agony of back pain resulting from a manual handling incident.

Manual handling injuries mostly affect the back, but can also cause severe problems to the limbs, muscles, tendons and the heart and because these injuries tend to take longer to heal they have a more profound effect on longer term health.

There are strict laws designed to ensure that employers take action to prevent injury as a result of manual handling. Employers should have a written policy as part of their overall safety policy. The main law is the Manual Handling Regulations 1992.


The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992

HSE manual handling pages

Responding to the Work Foundation report on the cost of muscle and back pain, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:
30 September 2009
The Health and Safety Executive is reminding companies of their legal duties on manual handling after an employee was injured when a 50kg sack of basmati rice fell on his neck.
01 February 2008
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21 February 2007
British businesses lose an estimated 4.9 million days to employee absenteeism through work related back pain – with the North East suffering more than most, with 2 people in every hundred having to cope with the condition. With each affected employee taking an average of 19 days off work this...
28 June 2005
A world class city must have world class workplaces, that means aspiring to and achieving world class standards of health and safety at work – not for some, but for all. And the roadmap for turning that dream into a reality includes there being a health and safety rep in...
19 November 2004
Workers in the Northern region have the highest levels of concern about bullying of any region in Great Britain, and the second highest concerns about back strains, according to a TUC survey of workplace union safety reps published today (Tuesday).
07 January 2003
To highlight the growing problem, next week in European Week for Safety and Health (16 - 22 October), the TUC, BackCare and the Forum of Private Business are launching a back pain report and a special back phone line.
11 October 2000