Manual handling is transporting or supporting loads by hand or using bodily force.
Many people hurt their back, arms, hands or feet lifting everyday loads and not just when the load is too heavy.
Upper limb disorders (i.e. those relating to the neck, shoulders, arms, wrists, hands and fingers), sometimes called repetitive strain injury (RSI), can happen in almost any workplace where people do repetitive, or forceful manual activities in awkward postures, for prolonged periods of time.
These can cause muscular aches and pains, which may, at first, be temporary. However, if such work is not properly managed and the early symptoms are not recognized and treated, they can progress to a chronic and disabling disorder.
Injuries through manual handling can be avoided by providing suitable lifting equipment that is regularly maintained, and relevant training on manual handling and using the equipment safely.
To help assess the manual handling operation in your business, a Manual Handling Assessment Chart is available.
- Manual handling assessment chart - HSE website
Specific requirements and guidance
- Manual handling regulations guidance - HSE website (includes free PDF download)