Manual Handling

Manual handling injury is still a major cause of lost time and productivity for industry. Back pain and injury accounts for around 31% of working days lost per year (2,857,000 days). This represents 12.4% of all working days lost due to work-related ill health in the UK.  

Our services include detailed risk assessment based on established ergonomics tools such as MAC, ART, RAPP, QEC and L23. We provide advice and practical recommendations based on our experience across a wide range of sectors.

Manual handling – making it safer

Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) occur in a wide range of workplaces. MSDs are any injury, damage or disorder of the joints or tissues in the limbs, back or neck. Work-related-MSDs are those that are caused, or made worse by, work.

Manual handling is still a major cause of MSDs – mainly to the lower back but also to the upper back and shoulders. About a quarter of all the UK’s reported non-major RIDDOR injuries are strains caused by manual handling.

MSDs linked to manual handling are a well known issue and there are legal duties to properly manage the risks based on:

  • Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974
  • Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999
  • Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (as amended)

Benefits of managing manual handling risks

Taking steps to reduce manual handling risks gives our clients clear benefits such as:

  • Reduced incident and injury rates
  • Improved productivity and less materials wastage
  • Improved employee engagement with safety initiatives
  • Improved employee wellbeing

Working with employees to develop and implement risk control measures is a valuable part of maintaining and building trust with staff. We often find that staff have excellent ideas for ways to improve their work, but sometimes need help to translate those ideas into practice. Bringing in an outside party such as Guildford Ergonomics has the effect of mediating between management and staff, and refining any existing good ideas.

We help you take these steps to manage the risks 

  • Identify activities which present a risk of MSDs (general risk assessment)
  • Eliminate activities which present a risk of injury
  • Assess the tasks you can’t eliminate (specific manual handling risk assessment)
  • Reduce or control the risks (e.g. implement handling aids, provide manual handling training and information about the risks)
  • Monitor any modified tasks (check effectiveness of interventions and ongoing risks)

Our Manual Handling Risk Assessments follow 5 key stages

1.  Identify hazardous manual handling task(s), if you have not done so already.

2.  Carry out site visits to gather information; discuss tasks with operators, measurements and data, video footage etc. to allow us to analyse the task(s).

3.  Apply validated risk assessment tools such as the QEC, Manual Handling Assessment Chart (MAC), RAPP (HSE Risk assessment of push-pull tasks) and the L23 Risk Filter and Checklist. We will typically use more than one tool per task in order to strengthen the validity of our findings.

4.  Prepare a full report and give you feedback identifying:

  • What should be done to control and reduce the risk (legal benchmarks and advice on appropriate interventions).
  • What should be done to control and reduce the risk (legal benchmarks and advice on appropriate interventions).

5.  Provide ongoing support – We can provide you with any support needed in selecting and testing/monitoring interventions and handling aids etc. as well as training in safe lifting techniques and risk assessment.