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Manual Handling And Lifting

The following Regulations apply to the manual handling or lifting of materials:

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (amended in 2002).
The Lifting Operations and Loading Equipment Regulations 1998.

The current Regulations require the following steps:

  • Avoid hazardous manual handling operations where reasonably practicable. Consider whether the load should be moved at all and, if it must, whether it can be moved mechanically, for example, by forklift truck.
  • Assess adequately any hazardous operations that cannot be avoided. You should consider the shape and size of the load in addition to its weight. You should also consider the way the task is carried out, for example, the handler's posture, the working environment, e.g. is it cramped or hot, and the individual's capability, e.g. is unusual strength required. Unless the assessment is very simple a written record will be needed.

Additional guidance can be obtained from HSG 149 “Backs for the future” Good assessment will not only show whether there is a problem but will also help identify where the problem lies. The directors will ensure that all operatives have been instructed in the correct handling and lifting of loads, as required.

The site manager must ensure that a supply of suitable gloves or equipment is available for use, as required, for the handling of materials which could cause injuries.

The site manager will ensure that all persons on site wear safety footwear and will caution any Sub-contractor's employee wearing unsuitable footwear.

No one, particularly a young person, will be required to lift, without assistance, a load which is likely to cause injury. The main injuries associated with manual handling and lifting are:

  • Back strain, slipped disc.
  • Hernias.
  • Lacerations, crushing of hands or fingers.
  • Bruised or broken toes or feet.
  • Various sprains, strains, etc.

The selection of persons to carry out manual handling or lifting tasks must be based on the training given, age, physical build, medical history etc. Where loads have to be manually handled, the need to ensure that accesses are safe and free of tripping hazards is especially important.


Where possible heavy loads will be split into smaller carrying units. If the
handling of heavy items cannot be avoided, then use of a mechanical aid should
always be the first priority, in order to reduce the risk of injury to the lowest level possible.

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