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Manual handling

Precautions you can take and legal obligations you must follow when requiring employees to engage in manual handling tasks

Any activity that requires an individual to lift, move or support a load is classified as a manual handling task. The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 define it 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'.

  1. Manual handling risk assessment
  2. Controlling manual handling risks
  3. Good lifting technique
  4. Manual handling legal obligations

​4. Manual handling legal obligations

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 are the main piece of legislation dealing with manual handling. It sets out the main duties for employers and employees. 

The order of controls contained within the regulation explain that first you need to avoid manual handling. When this is not possible you need to assess and reduce the risk.

There isn’t a weight limit for manual handling within the regulations. Instead an assessment of the tasks should be carried out to ensure the safety and health of employees.

Employees also have a responsibility to

  • follow safe systems of work
  • make proper use of equipment provided for their safety
  • co-operate with their employer on health and safety matters
  • inform the employer if they identify hazardous manual handling activities
  • take care to ensure their activities do not put themselves or others at risk.

Visit the HSE to see the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992