HSC/CW                                                 The University of Salford
Issue: Draft

                         Manual Handling Code of Practice

1. Introduction

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations require employers to make an
assessment of the risks to their employees and provide suitable safe equipment and
working practices. More than a quarter of all accidents reported to the enforcing
authorities are associated with manual handling. Therefore, managers should
implement the checks and procedures detailed in this Code of Practice and take
action where the checks indicate improvements are necessary. The assessment
findings and any identified improvements are to be recorded on the assessment pro-

2. Who should carry out the Manual Handling Assessment?

The Line Manager responsible for staff undertaking manual handling operations
should carry out the assessment, in conjunction with the staff performing the manual
handling operations.

3. How to carry out a Manual Handling Risk Assessment

Step 1
Determine if the manual handling operation can be avoided altogether. If not,
proceed to Step 2.
Using the guidelines, carry out a preliminary assessment of the manual handling
If the preliminary assessment indicates that the manual handling operation is unlikely
to present a significant risk of injury, you do not need to perform a more detailed
assessment. The assessment of the manual handling operation must be reviewed
periodically to ensure it remains effective.
The findings of this assessment should be recorded on Step 1 Preliminary
Assessment Form.

Step 2
If the preliminary assessment indicates that the manual handling operation could
present a significant risk of injury, a detailed assessment must be carried out using
the Step 2 Assessment Form.

Step 3
Summarise the findings at Step 3

HSC/CW                                                   The University of Salford
Issue: Draft

4. Undertaking the Preliminary Assessment Using the Numerical Guidelines

The following numerical guidelines provide an initial filter which can help to identify
those manual handling operations deserving more detailed examination. The
guidelines set out an approximate boundary within which operations are unlikely to
create a risk of injury sufficient to warrant more detailed assessment. This should
enable assessment work to be concentrated where it is most needed.

There is no threshold below which manual handling operations may be regarded as
‘safe’. Even operations lying within the boundary mapped out by the guidelines
should be avoided or made less demanding wherever it is reasonably practicable to
do so.

Guidelines for Lifting and Lowering

Basic guideline figures for manual handling operations involving lifting and lowering
are set out below. They assume that the load is readily grasped with both hands and
that the operations take place in reasonable working conditions with the handler in a
stable body position. The guideline figures take into consideration the vertical and
horizontal position of the hands as they move the load during the handling operation,
as well as the height of the individual handler. It will be apparent that the capability to
lift or lower is reduced significantly if, for example, the load is held at arm’s length or
the hands pass above shoulder height.

NOTE: No attempt should be made to interpret this diagram without first
reading the accompanying text.

If the hands enter more than one of the box zones during the operation the smallest
weight figure should be used. The transition from one box to another is not abrupt;
an intermediate figure may be chosen where the hands are close to a boundary.
Where lifting or lowering with the hand beyond the box zones is unavoidable a more
detailed assessment should be made.

HSC/CW                                                The University of Salford
Issue: Draft


                                                          As a rough guide the guideline
                                                          figures should be reduced by
                                                          about 10% where the handler
                                                          twists through 45 degrees and
                                                          by about 20% where the handler
                                                          twists through 90 degrees

Frequent Lifting and Lowering
The guideline figure should be reduced if the operation is repeated frequently. As a
rough guide the figures should be reduced by 30% where the operation is repeated
once or twice per minute, by 50% if repeated five to eight times per minute and by
80% if repeated more than about 12 times per minute.

Guidelines for Carrying
It is also assumed that the load is held against the body and is carried no further
than about 10m without resting. If the load is carried over a longer distance without
resting the guideline figures may need to be reduced. Where the load can be carried
securely on the shoulder without first having to be lifted (as for example when
unloading sacks from a lorry) the guideline figure can be applied to distances in
excess of 10 metres.

Guidelines for Pushing and Pulling
The guideline figure for starting or stopping the load is a force of about 25kg (ie
about 250 Newtons). The guideline figure for keeping the load in motion is a force of
about 10kg (ie about 100 Newtons).
It is assumed that the force is applied with the hands between knuckle and shoulder
height; if this is not possible the guideline figures may need to be reduced.

                                       Guidelines for Handling while Seated
                                       If handling beyond the box zone is unavoidable
                                       or, for example, there is significant twisting to
                                       the side, a more detailed assessment should be

                                       NOTE: No attempt should be made to interpret
                                       this diagram without first reading the
                                       accompanying text.
                                       Remember: These guideline figures should not
                                       be regarded as weight limits for safe lifting. They
                                       are an aid to highlight where a more detailed risk
                                       assessment should be made.

                                                        The University of Salford

                             Manual Handling of Loads

                      Step 1: Preliminary Assessment Form

This assessment should be completed for any task, which involves:
Lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, carrying or otherwise moving something by the
use of bodily force.

Operations Covered by this Assessment:


Personnel Involved:

1. Can the operations be avoided/mechanised/automated at a reasonable cost?
If ‘YES’ action and then check that the result is satisfactory

2. Are the operations clearly within the guidelines?                         YES/NO

If ‘NO’, or in any doubt, a more detailed assessment must be completed at Step 2

Date of Assessment:

Completed by:


Date of Reassessment:

                                                          The University of Salford

                                Manual Handling of Loads

                           Step 2: Detailed Assessment Form

Questions to consider:                               How will risk be eliminated or reduced?
(If the answer to a question is ‘YES’ place a tick   (Detail the precautions that will be taken or
against it and then consider how this can be         changes that will be introduced)

The Tasks – do they involve:
                                        YES     NO                  YES
holding loads away from the trunk
reaching upwards
large vertical movement
long carrying distances
strenuous pushing or pulling
unpredictable movement of loads
repetitive handling
insufficient rest or recovery
a work-rate imposed by a process
The Loads – are they:
difficult to grasp
intrinsically harmful (eg sharp hot)
The Working Environment – are there:
constraints on posture
poor floors
variations in levels
hot/cold humid conditions
strong air movements
poor lighting conditions
Individual Capability – does the job:
require unusual capability
hazard those with a health problem
call for special information/training
Other factors:
is movement or posture hindered
by clothing or personal protective
Are mechanical handling aids
maintained and in good condition

When you have completed Step 2 go to Step 3 overleaf

                                                                                 The University of Salford

                                          Step 3: Overall assessment of risk

             1What is your overall assessment of the risk injury based on the risk-scoring matrix

             If ‘Insignificant’ or ‘Low’ the assessment need go no further

             If ‘Medium’ or above, detail the actions you will take to eliminate or minimise the
             risk of injury

             What remedial action steps will be taken, in order of priority?





    Risk                                               Long term
Evaluation =        No     First   <3 days   > 3days    injury/ill   Death or       Risk Level              Action Required
Level of Risk     injury    aid    absence   absence     health      disabling
       Almost                                                                       I=Insignificant                  No action
                    I        I        I         I          I             I
                                                                                        L=Low            Review controls to ensure they
 Very unlikely      I        I       L         L           L            L                                       remain effectiv e
      Unlikely                                                                        If greater than low, identify additional controls to
                    I       L        L         L           M            M                             reduce risk further
<50/50 chance
 Likely >50/50                                                                       M=Medium              Identify additional actions to
                    I       L        L         M           M            M                                        reduce risk further
                                                                                       H=High                   Seek further advice
    Very likely     I       L        M         M           H            H

      Virtually                                                                       C=Critical             STOP seek further advic e
                    I       L        M         M           H            C

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