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What is Manual Handling? The Manual Handling Operations Regulations
(MHOR)define Manual Handling as:
“any transporting or supporting of a load (including
the lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or
moving thereof) by hand or by bodily force.”
Why? In health and social care services, moving and
handling injuries account for 40% of work-related sickness absence. Around 5000 moving and handling injuries are reported each year in health services and around 2000 in social care.
Moving and handling is a key part of the working day for most employees; from moving of equipment, laundry, catering, supplies or waste to assisting residents in moving.
Over 50% of injuries arise from the moving and handling of people.
Why? Poor moving and handling practice can lead to:
back pain and musculoskeletal disorders, which can
lead to inability to work
moving and handling accidents – which can injure both
the person being moved and the employee
discomfort and a lack of dignity for the person being
Health & Safety at Work Act 1974
(HSWA) – Duties of the Employer
The duty of the Employer under the HSWA is to
ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the
health, safety and welfare of all their employees and
others who might be affected by the way they go
about their work.
HSWA – Duties of the Employer They can achieve this by:
Provision and maintenance of plant and safe systems of work
Safety in the use, storage and transport of loads and substances
Provision of information, instruction, training and supervision of employees
Maintenance of a safe workplace
Maintenance of a safe and healthy working environment
HSWA – Duties of the Employee The duties of the Employee under the HSWA are:
To take reasonable care of their own health and
safety and those who may be affected by their acts
and omissions (which would include patients,
colleagues, visitors etc)
To co-operate with their employer to enable him to
comply with his health and safety duties
Management of Health & Safety at Work
-Duties of the employee
To use equipment provided by their employers as
If you injure yourself by choosing not to use
equipment which was available to you, you may not
be eligible for compensation and may even be liable
for contributory negligence in the event of a third
party being injured as a result of your actions.
Manual Handling Operations
Duties of the employer
Avoid manual handling where possible
Assess any hazardous activities where manual handling can’t be avoided
If the assessment indicates a significant risk of injury a
more specific assessment must be made
Reduce the risk of injury as far as is reasonably practicable
Manual Handling Operations
Duties of the employee
Follow the laid down systems of work
Make proper use of equipment provided
Co-operate in H&S matters
Advise your manager if you are unwell
Not putting other people at risk
Other Legislation The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations
(This is to ensure that employers provide suitable equipment, which staff are trained to use)
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare)Regulations 1992 (WHSWR)
(This is to ensure employers provide suitable working conditions)
The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER)
(This is to ensure that adequate lifting equipment is in place and maintained in working order)
In order to adhere to the principles of Safer Manual
Handling techniques, it is important to understand
the structure and function of the spine, and to learn
the theory of good posture.
Structure and Function of the
Spine The spine is the major
supporting structure of the body, and consists of 24 moveable vertebrae and 9 fixed vertebrae, all of varying sizes.
The top 24 vertebrae are separated by discs, these act as ‘shock absorbers’ and stretches and relaxes during movement
Repeated stresses can cause small tears and bulging of the disc
The Spine The most
Posture is a condition rather than a position and
applies to all parts of the body, not just the spine,
when both static and during movement.
If uncorrected, poor posture can lead to changes in
the structure of joints and can even cause premature
Poor Posture Most adults adopt poor postural positions on a daily
basis, at work or in the home.
Top heavy bending (bending from the waist, with the legs straight)
Slumping/slouching (probably whilst watching TV from a comfy chair/sofa…!)
Sleeping on your front, or on your side in a “foetal position” (forcing the spine out of its natural curves)
Twisting (turning at the waist to reach for something rather than moving the whole body to the object)
Risk Assessments Generic
May apply generally to moving and handling tasks in a
particular environment or setting – e.g., carrying
Person centred and involve the person
Relate to specific moving and handling tasks with
specific individuals – e.g., Bed to chair transfer in
persons own home
Moving and Handling Risk assessments will have
been completed by a suitably competent person
and put in place for the moving and handling tasks
you will be involved in
However, each time you perform any moving and
handling task you should be completing your own
mental risk assessment
TILE T = The Task
Does the activity involve twisting, stooping, bending, excessive travel, pushing, pulling or precise positioning of the load, sudden movement, inadequate rest or recovery periods, team handling or seated work?
I=The Individual - You
Does the individual require unusual strength or height for the activity, are they pregnant, disabled or suffering from a health problem. Is specialist knowledge or training required?
TILE L= The Load
Is the load heavy, unwieldy, difficult to grasp, sharp,
hot, cold, difficult to grip, are the contents likely to
move or shift?
E = The Environment
Are there space constraints, uneven, slippery or
unstable floors, variations in floor levels, extremely
hot, cold or humid conditions, poor lighting, poor
ventilation, gusty winds, clothing or Personal
Protective Equipment that restricts movement?
Think before lifting / handling -
Use TILE Plan the lift.
Can handling or mechanical aids be used?
Where is the load going to be placed?
Will help be needed with the load?
Remove obstructions such as discarded wrapping
materials. For a long lift, consider resting the load
midway on a table or bench to change grip.
Don’t lift or handle more that can be easily
Risk Assessment Look for hazard – (restricted space for transfer,
awkward shaped objects need transported)
Decide who might be harmed and why (TILE)
Evaluate the risk – eliminate risk, reduce risk or
Report – let your line manager know of any changes
Principals of safe moving,
handling and lifting ‘Safer Manual Handling Begins at Your Base,
and Goes Up to Your Face’
You must think about your posture whilst moving & handling objects and/or people
Remember the following:
Feet – should always be positioned to form a wide, stable mobile base
Knees – bend & relax your knees
Legs –bend your legs
Back –maintain the natural ‘S’ shape in your back
Arms –keep the object close to your body
Hands – use your whole hand to ensure a good grip
Head –Keep your head up and look forwards
Adopt a stable position The feet should be apart with one leg slightly forward
to maintain balance.
Be prepared to move feet during lift to maintain
Avoid tight clothing or unsuitable footwear, which
may make this difficult.
Start in a good posture At the start of the lift, slight bending of the back, hips
and knees is preferable to fully flexing the back
(stooping) or fully flexing the hips and knees
Always raise the load, then straighten the legs to
avoid increasing flexion in the back.
Once the load is held securely keep the head up
Keep the load close to the waist Keep the load close to the body for as long as
possible while lifting.
Keep the heaviest side of the load next to the body.
If a close approach to the load is not possible, try to
slide it towards the body before attempting it.
Avoid twisting the back or leaning sideways, keep
shoulders and hips facing the same direction. Turn
using the feet.
Move slowly, jerky movements can make it harder to
control and can increase the risk of injury.
Policy and guidance ACFL Moving and Handling Policy and Procedure
ACFL Health & Safety Policy and Procedure
ACFL Risk Assessment Policy and Procedure
ACFL Incident reporting Policy and Procedure
Summary Poor Moving and Handling can lead to injury to
yourself and others
Legislation is in place which details both employers
and employees responsibilities
Use TILE to assess moving and handling tasks
All basic principals of moving and handling must be
adhered to al all times to ensure safe manual
handling and avoid injury
Client specific manual handling guidance and
training is given to all staff where required