The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (MHO) require employers and employees to reduce the risks of injury from manual handling as far as reasonably practicable.

WaruMC will conduct an independent and assessment on those manual handling operations that pose a risk of injury to employees. It will consider the task, the individual, the load, the working environment and other related issues and identify where further steps can be taken to reduce the risk to the lowest level as far as reasonably practicable. The assessment will assist your organisation in meeting the requirements of the Manual Handling Operation Regulations 1992.

What is manual handling?

As defined by The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992, manual handling is "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.

In other words, handling is a broad category of work-related injury. It accounts for more than one in five of all workplace injuries. Handling injuries include: injuries due to lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling loads; strains; sprains; trapped fingers and cuts from sharp objects.

Why is manual handling risk assessment important? 

Manual handling risk is so important because of the potential human, financial and regulatory costs to your business if undone, unaddressed and unimplemented.

Some facts and figures from the HSE’s latest “Handling injuries in Great Britain” (2013) show the seriousness of handling risks:

Ill health

Handling is particularly associated with work-related Ill health due to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). The latest LFS 3 year averaged estimates (2009/10 to 2011/12) show:

  • more than a third of MSDs were caused by handling (LFS MSDMHW1_3YR);
  • an estimated 222 000 total cases of work related MSDs were caused by manual handling (LFS);
  • an estimated total case rate of 740 per 100 000 workers (LFS).

About half of the estimated 210,000 total cases of MSDs mainly affecting the back were caused by handling. Handling caused an estimated 112 000 total cases of MSDs mainly affecting the back. (LFS, BACKMHW1_3YR).

In 2012/13p

Seven per cent of major and more than a quarter of over seven day injuries to employees involved handling (1 418 major, 16 051 over seven day.) There was one fatal injury.

Over 90% of the 17,470 handling injuries were over seven day injuries.

The latest 3 year averaged estimates from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) showed an estimated 55,000 reportable handling injuries resulted in more than three days’ absence from work. This was a handling injury rate of 190 per 100 000 workers.

Who is affected by/most at risk from manual handling? 

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 handling of loads, even light loads if handled incorrectly. Risks can be found in all work sectors but healthcare, agriculture and construction are recognised as high risk industries due to the number and nature of the manual handling activities.

What does the law say? 

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 state that employers should adopt a hierarchy of control measures:

  • To avoid hazardous Manual Handling Operations so far as is reasonably practicable.
  • To assess any hazardous Manual Handling Operation that cannot be avoided.
  • To reduce the risk of injury so far as is reasonably practicable.



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