7 Top Manual Handling Tips

The HSE’s latest Inspection Campaign started on the 4th September and lasts for 8 weeks. This latest set of HSE site inspections across Great Britain are focusing on moving and handling materials.

If you get an inspection the Inspector will be checking employers and workers know the risks, plan their work and are using sensible control measures to protect workers from injuries and aches, as well as pain and discomfort in joints, muscles and bones known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

These injuries can have a serious impact on workers’ ability to perform tasks; their quality of life; and in some cases, their ability to stay in work and earn a living.

The following good handling tips should be emphasised in training programmes and the capability of employees to follow such advice should be considered in making assessments:

  • Feet apart, giving a balanced and stable base for lifting with the leading leg as far forward as is comfortable.
  • Bend the knees so that the hands, when grasping the load, are as near level with the waist as possible. Do not kneel or over bend the knees. Keep the back straight (tucking in the chin helps). Lean forward a little over the load, if necessary, to get a good grip. Keep shoulders level and facing in the same direction as the hips.
  • Try to keep the arms within the boundary formed by the legs. The optimum position and nature of the grip will depend on the circumstances and individual preference, but it must be secure. A hook grip is less fatiguing than keeping the fingers straight. If it is necessary to vary the grip as the lift proceeds, do this as smoothly as possible.
  • Carry out the lifting movements smoothly, raising the chin as the lift begins, keeping control of the load.
  • When turning to the side, move the feet; do not twist the trunk.
  • Keep the load close to the trunk for as long as possible. Keep the heaviest side of the load next to the trunk. If a close approach to the load is not possible, try sliding it towards you before attempting to lift it.
  • If precise positioning of the load is necessary, put it down first, then slide it into the required position.

For more great advice on how to manage Manual Handling on your site see the CIP Construction Health and Safety Manual and CIP Knowledge.

This latest HSE health inspection initiative is supported by the ‘Work Right Construction: Your Health Your Future‘ campaign to improve the long-term health of those working in construction.