Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992

Another of the 'six-pack' of legislation introduced on 1 January, 1993, the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (MHO Regs) implemented the requirements of European Directive 90/269/EEC.

They replaced a number of earlier pieces of legislation, including sections of both the Factories Act 1961 and the 1963 Offices, Shops and Railway Premises Act.

What is manual handling?

This is defined, in Regulation 2, as 'any transporting or supporting of a load (including the lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving thereof) by hand or by bodily force.' 

Manual handling is a major source of injury and the HSE have provided a lot of supporting materials and guidance for employers on how to minimise the risks involved in MH operations.

The key to all of the MHO Regulations is contained in Regulation 4 and is based on proper assessment of risk.

General duties and risk assessment

Regulation 4 lays out a clear hierarchy of approach for employers. They must:

  • first, avoid hazardous manual handling operations, so far as reasonably practicable
  • then, assess any hazardous manual handling tasks that cannot be avoided
  • reduce the risk of injury, so far as is reasonably practicable

Regulation 5 requires employees to make full and proper use of safe work systems introduced by the employer to reduce injury risks from manual handling. 

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance document to the regulations contains detailed advice and guidance on how to assess, what to assess and possible risk reduction measures. 

Reps are advised to press management to provide copies of the HSE publication.

Find out more about manual handling on the Health and Safety Executive website.

Updated 26 Jan 2017

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