The definition of Manual Handling is, "The transportation or supporting of a load by hand or by bodily force." So basically, lifting, putting down, carrying, pulling, pushing and moving are all Manual Handling activities.

Of all injuries reported to the HSE, 38% are caused by Manual Handling. This has a big effect on the workforce, individual and on society as a whole. Therefore, legislation has been put in place stating, "Every employer shall, as far as is reasonably practicable, ensure the health, safety and welfare of all employees whilst at work."

Both the employer and employee have duties to ensure regulations are adhered to. The employer must;
· Maintain safe equipment and systems at work

· Ensure safe handling, storage and transportation of goods

· Provide necessary information and training

· Ensure a safe entry and exit from the workplace

· Provide a safe working environment with adequate welfare facilities

The employee must;
· Ensure they take reasonable care of themselves and others around them

· Do not interfere recklessly or intentionally with anything provided for health and safety

· Equipment and safety devices should only be used in accordance with training provided

· Faults should be reported immediately

In summary, the employer and employee should use the following hierarchy of measures to reduce the risks of injury in the workplace;

Ø Avoid, so far as is reasonably practicable, manual handling operations

Ø Where manual handling activities cannot be avoided an assessment must be carried out before action is taken

Ø The risk of injury should be reduced, so far as is reasonably practicable

Working together, the workplace will have good morale and a healthy, happier workforce.

Train Aid provides a three hour in-house course on Manual Handling for up to 12 people. See here for further details.