skip to main content

Manual handling

Essential information about moving and handling of an object.

Manual handling is the moving and handling of an object, which could be anything from a box of paper to a person.

Moving and handling includes pushing and pulling, lifting, putting down and carrying. Moving and handling doesn’t include dancing, martial arts or acrobatics when the people involved are trained and experienced to do this safely.

General risk assessments of activities will include manual handling if part of the activity. If the risk assessment identifies manual handling as hazardous (either medium, high or very high risk) a manual handling assessment will also need to be completed in addition to the general risk assessment. Manual handling assessments look at the risk of injury arising from the weight, size or awkwardness of moving an object. If in doubt contact your local health and safety adviser for advice.

There is a specific manual handling form and the associated procedure / standard available to download below.

Manual Handling Risk Assessment Form (Word 26KB)

Manual Handling Standard (PDF 989KB)

Identifying hazardous manual handling

Moving and handling objects is one of the most common causes of injury at work, usually resulting in damage to muscles, tendons and ligaments.

Most injuries happen when people try to move something too heavy or requiring too much effort than they can safely manage. Repeatedly carrying out a task can also lead to injury, and this can happen even if the object is not heavy.

Lifting, lowering and twisting also increases the risk of injury because these movements increase pressure on spine and back muscles. The diagram below shows weights that are generally considered to be the maximum that should be lifted from the positions given and the manual handling poster provides information about how to lift and carry.