Manual Handling FAQs

Advice on guidance around good manual handling practice.

What is manual handling in the workplace?

In the regulations, manual handling is defined as “…any transporting or supporting of a load (including the lifting, lowering, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving thereof) by hand or bodily force.”

What is TILE and LITE?

TILE stands for task, individual, load and environment. LITE is the same with the letters mixed round. The terms are used as the framework for manual handling risk assessments. To find out more visit our blog – What do TILE and Lite stand for?

What are the legal requirements for manual handling?

The legislation dedicated to manual handling in the workplace is The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992. You can view the legislation here.

How many injuries are caused by manual handling in the workplace each year?

Manual handling is the cause of over a third of all reported workplace injuries, including work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and repetitive strain injuries.

Who should undertake workplace risk assessments?

It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure workplace risk assessments are conducted. Risk assessments must be undertaken by a competent person, the assessments can be outsourced to a competent consultant(s) if its felt that there isn’t the competence in the organisation.

Who is responsible for lifting requirements in the workplace?

Employers are responsible in ensuring manual handling activities with a risk of injury are avoided where possible. Where lifting cannot be avoided, risk should be reduced so far as is reasonably practicable.

Do I need to undertake manual handling training?

Poorly managed manual handling operations is one of the most common causes of injury at work. As well as it being a legal requirement, undertaking manual handling training can help reduce the likelihood of injuries and musculoskeletal disorders occurring amongst employees and will help managers become competent in undertaking risk assessments and developing safe systems of work with workers.

What is the correct lifting technique?

Before assessing what is a good handling technique, it is important to initially look at avoiding the need to undertake manual handling in all its forms. If that’s not possible then reducing the risks associated with the manual handling task is the next step which might mean using a mechanical aid or changing the task, load or working environment.

When a lift operation still needs to be undertaken, a good techniques would include:

  • Assessing the load.
  • Planning the lift and handling activity.
  • Create a good base by placing your feet one in front of the other.
  • Lower yourself down avoiding a deep bending posture and bending your knees.
  • Take a secure grip of the load.
  • Raise your head up and straighten and lock the back out.
  • Lift with your legs and try and include some forward momentum.
  • Keep the load close to your waist.

What is a safe lifting limit for an individual?

Although there is no legal safe limit set within the regulations, the HSE provides guidelines for lifting and lowering loads. You can view the HSE’s guidelines here.