Introduction to this document

Manual handling 

Manual handling occurs in most aspects of work. Carried out using the wrong techniques or attempting to move items beyond the capacity of the employee will almost certainly lead to accidents.

Managing the risks

To help you identify the hazards and appropriate ways of controlling them, use our example Risk Assessment - Manual Handling document.  It covers the generic hazards found with most manual handling tasks and suggests control measures to reduce risks to an acceptable level.

You should ensure that your document only addresses “significant” hazards, i.e. any that could and more importantly are likely to, cause an accident or injury. For example, your risk assessment doesn’t need to cover activities such as placing small packs of photocopying paper into the stationery cupboard or similar activities. 

Make your instructions clear

There is no point putting activities on the document that simply don’t need to be there.  Work to the principle that if there is any chance of your staff being unaware of the safe way of carrying out a manual handling task, then you will need to make it clear on your document. Finally, always ensure any control measures you identify and follow only go so far “as is reasonably practicable”. 

Note. The list of potential hazards is not exhaustive, as you know your workplace better than we do. For your risk assessment to be considered suitable and sufficient in the eyes of the law it must accurately reflect the “significant” hazards found with manual handling operations in your workplace.