Manual handling is an extremely risky operation - it is one of the highest causes of injury to people at work. The HSE have attempted to control this risk by issuing comprehensive guidance on avoidung the risks of manual handling tasks and there is specific legislation relating to employers' duties to assess and control manual handling operations, which are summarised in the legal section of these pages.
Employers are under a legal duty to:
- avoid hazardous manual handling operations, wherever possible;
- asses the risks involved in any manual handling tasks that cannot be avoided;
- reduce these risks to the lowest possible level.
As part of its guidance to employers on assessing manual handling tasks the HSE have produced a chart of indicative 'safe' weights.
Using these guidance weights will, they say, ‘provide a reasonable level of protection to around 95% of working men and women.’
#They stress, however, that these are not ‘safe’ limits for lifting - much depends on the nature of the tasks, the loads, the working environment and the individual lifters.
Further information can be found on the HSE web pages on musculoskeletal disorders.
You can also look at our guide to back pain.