Manual handling is moving items either by lifting, lowering, carrying, pushing or pulling with your body. Incorrect manual handling is one of the most common causes of injury at work. These injuries are called ‘musculoskeletal disorders’ (MSDs) because they involve damage to the back, joints and tissues in the upper or lower limbs.
Employers must manage risks to their workers from manual handling to comply with the Manual Handling Operations Regulations (MHOR) and the Health and Safety at Work Act.
A hierarchy of measures to reduce the risks of manual handling is set out by the MHOR:
- Avoid – investigate all processes so you can eliminate the need for manual handling operations.
- Assess – where manual handling can’t be avoided, the task needs to be evaluated.
- Reduce – the risk of injury during manual handling operations should be minimised as much as possible.