What are Manual Handling Principles for Safer Moving and Handling?

Manual handling regulations have been well-established for many years, yet many workplaces still fail to implement the correct manual handling techniques effectively. Failure to ensure the health and safety of employees when working with large or heavy loads can lead to severe injury and may come at a high cost to your business. So how can we instil safer moving and handling practices?

This blog will tackle the manual handling principles and what are the safer moving and handling to prevent any risks at work, at home, etc.

What is manual handling?

Current regulations define manual handling as transporting or supporting a load by hand or bodily force like lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying, maneuvring or transporting.

Manual handling is vital in health and safety concerns in the workplace, as almost every organisation in any sector will have some form of manual handling activities. The Health and Safety in the Workplace booklet provides advice on the subject and several other everyday health and safety issues that everyone should be aware of.

What is the manual handling legislation?

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations (MHOR) legislation was first introduced in 1992 as part of a series of EC Directives adopted into UK legislation and updated in 2002.

The regulations state that an employer must:

  • Avoid the need for hazardous manual handling as reasonably practicable.
  • Assess the risk of injury from any manual handling task that you can’t avoid.
  • Reduce the risk of injury from manual handling as reasonably possible.

It is essential that an employer has conducted a suitable and sufficient risk assessment and tried to reduce any risks associated with manual handling. Employees should participate in the risk assessment, attend relevant manual handling training and implement good techniques whenever they carry out such tasks. Employers (and employees) who do not effectively implement these requirements could be subject to several actions from the regulatory authorities, dependent upon the nature of the omission(s).

What are the basic principles of safe moving and handling?

Several factors can potentially present hazards when carrying out manual handling activities. Here are some basic principles that everyone should observe before carrying out a manual handling operation:

  • Plan the lift carefully - Consider whether additional lifting aids are needed. A manual handling risk assessment may also be required at this stage.
  • Reduce the distance of the lift where possible.
  • Map out your route and remove any objections that may cause an obstruction.
  • Wear suitable clothing that doesn't threaten to obstruct the lift.
  • Ensure you have a good grip on the load, whether lifting, pushing or pulling.
  • Ensure the person handling the load has completed adequate training, such as our Manual Handling Training online.
  • Know your limits and be confident to ask for help if needed.

The MHOR does not outline a maximum weight limit for manual handling. The HSE has guided reasonable weight limits based on the lifting ability of an average fit male or female. The guidelines assume that:

  • The load is easy to grasp with both hands
  • The worker can adopt a stable body position
  • The activity is carried out in reasonable working conditions.

It is important to note that these are general guidelines, and individual situations and capabilities still need to be considered.

What are the techniques and posture when moving and handling?

It is vital to follow the correct way of moving and handling things to ensure that no injury occurs when carrying a load.

To safely lift a load:

  • Place feet hip-width apart with one foot slightly in front of each other
  • Moderate flexion of the back, hips and knees
  • Grasp the load firmly
  • Use the leg muscles to lift the load into a standing position.

Whilst holding the load, it is essential to remember to:

  • Keep the back straight, avoiding twisting or bending
  • Carry loads with straight arms
  • Keep the head up and face straight ahead when handling a load
  • Keep the load hugged close to the body while moving.

What are manual handling injuries?

Manual handling occurs in almost all industries and is a common cause of risk in many workplaces. Common manual handling injuries include:

  • Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) - include neck and upper limb disorders, lower limb disorders, back pain, back injuries and damage to joints or other tissues in the body.
  • Sprains - The painful twisting of the ligaments of a joint.
  • Strains or “pulled muscles” - Injury to the muscle where the muscle fibres tear.
  • Prolapsed discs - A rupture of the cartilage of a spinal disc.
  • Hernia - A rupture in the lower abdomen caused by excessive muscle strain.
  • Crushed limbs - Caused by loads falling and trapping limbs.
  • Cuts and abrasions - Caused by rough, sharp edges on objects.

Some of the injuries listed are superficial, but the significant damages from poor manual handling techniques are costly and can cause lifelong pain and disfigurement.

Where can I find online training courses for safer moving and handling?

The Mandatory Training Group is the leading UK provider of accredited manual handling principles for safer moving and handling training courses for all sectors, including health and social care, education, local government, private companies, charitable and third sector organisations.

Alternatively, you can contact our helpful Support Team byclicking hereto tell us your more about safer moving and handling training courses and qualifications.

Online training courses for safer moving and handling

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Frequently asked questions and answers about safer moving and handling

Here at The Mandatory Training Group, we receive many questions about the principles for safer moving and handling training. We have selected a few of these questions and answered them below.

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Moving & Handling Online Train the Trainer Course - The Mandatory Training Group UK -

What are Manual Handling Principles for Safer Moving and Handling? - The Mandatory Training Group UK.

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