Manual handling
Manual handling

The following Practice Management guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Manual handling
  • What is manual handling?
  • Regulatory requirements
  • Managing manual handling risk

Manual handling is one of the most common causes of injury in the workplace and injuries caused in this way can often have severe and long-term effects. It's therefore very important that you manage manual handling risk carefully—do not assume it’s irrelevant in an office environment.

This Practice Note sets out regulatory requirements relating to manual handling and contains suggestions on how you might manage manual handling risk in your workplace.

What is manual handling?

Manual handling involves a wide range of handling activities, including:

  1. lifting

  2. lowering

  3. pushing

  4. pulling, or

  5. carrying loads

Common loads, in an office environment, include:

  1. boxes

  2. files

  3. filing cabinets, and

  4. other office furniture and equipment, eg computers, photocopy paper, etc

Regulatory requirements

Regulatory requirements relating to manual handling can be found in various places.

Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA 1974)

The HSWA 1974 is the primary piece of legislation covering occupational health and safety.

In summary, as an employer, you have a duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of your employees at work and others who may be affected by what you do or do not do.

In particular, your duty extends, so far as is reasonably practicable, to:

  1. ensuring the provision and maintenance of plant and systems of work that are safe and without risks to health

  2. having

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