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Manual Handling Assessments

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (as amended in 2002) 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’.

In effect, any activity that requires an individual to lift, move or support a load will be classified as a manual handling task.

The Regulations require all employers to carry out a manual handling risk assessment of every activity to determine if the employee, including any temporary employee, is at risk and if so, to put into place systems to reduce the risk.

Anyone involved in the moving and handling of goods and people could be at risk. Injuries and suffering can be linked to any work involving the handling of loads. There are risks involved in handling even light loads if a repetitive task is being carried out in poor conditions. In addition, poor ergonomics and workplace layout are a factor in many hazardous manual handling tasks.

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations state that employers should adopt a hierarchy of control measures:

  1. To avoid hazardous manual handling operations so far as is reasonably practicable.
  2. To assess any hazardous manual handling operation that cannot be avoided.
  3. To reduce the risk of injury so far as is reasonably practicable.

When assessing manual handling activities it is important to look at four specific areas – the Task, the Individual carrying out the task, the specific Load and the Environment in which the task is being carried out.  This is easily remembered by the acronym TILE.

The key factors to consider in each element are:

  1. 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?
  2. The Individual
    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?
  3. The Load
    Is the load heavy, unwieldy, difficult to grasp, sharp, hot, cold, difficult to grip, are the contents likely to move or shift?
  4. 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?

Our manual handling risk assessment will provide the information to put in place a safe system of work and amongst other issues will flag-up:

  • Where a manual handling operation should use mechanical help
  • Any training requirements
  • The Personal Protective Equipment to be used

Health surveillance requirements for your manual handling operations

OM Safety Solutions Ltd also provides manual handling risk assessments and many other services as part of our Construction Business Safety Solutions.

Contact us to find out how we can help your employees safely carry out manual handling operations, or to arrange a free consultation with one of our expert consultants.

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