Safety Signs Blog

What you need to know about the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992, as amended 2002

27th September 2011 | Warning Signs, Health and Safety Signs

Posted by David Arnold

A staggering 10% of all reported workplace injuries in the UK relate to manual handling of one kind or another. Furthermore, over a third of all reported injuries resulting in three days off work relate back to manual handling activities.

Building on from these surprisingly high statistics, over 12 million working days are lost every year to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). With this in mind it is a fair to equate that manual handling related injuries cost the UK economy hundreds of millions of pounds every single year. This, in a nutshell, is why both the HSE and legislators take the whole area of manual handling very seriously.

To fully understand the seriousness of Manual Handling in the UK, simply type “Prosecutions under the Manual Handling Operation Regulations” into Google. This returns hundreds of news stories relating to fines and prosecutions. Although the weightier of the fines shown relate to post-incident cases (where employees have suffered an actual injury), there are also a number of stories relating to the HSE carrying out random inspections and finding businesses have not taken suitable steps to reduce the risk of manual handling incidents.

What the law requires of you

In very general terms (although please note there are a high number of exceptions to the rules and everything is subject to a proper risk assessment), the rules are that no man should attempt to lift more than 25kg and a woman’s maximum limit is 16kg.

As is the case with most risk-based health and safety legislation, the onus is on the employer or responsible person to ensure that no employee ever lifts more than the law believes they can. This can be done in a variety of ways.

Principally all staff should be made aware of how to lift heavy objects during their employee induction on day one of their employment. Furthermore, adequate training and instruction should additionally be given if a person’s day-today work activity involves lifting heavier items. Everyone from the warehouse man to the office handy man, to personnel in the post room could be affected.

In addition to the above training, if any manual handling activity is taking place in any part of the building it makes good sense to remind and reinforce this message to all staff by employing a poster similar to the one shown below.

Safe Manual Handling Poster

Not only will this safe manual handling poster help prevent staff injuries that result in days off work, it could also help businesses demonstrate their compliance with the Manual Handling Operations Regulations – ensuring that neither the HSE nor the injured member of staff can take successful legal action against them.

As an after-thought to today article, we previously touched on post room staff, amongst others, being required to lift heavy loads. Consistent with this, it is important to make all readers aware of the growing use of warning labels showing “heavy load” or similar

By marking up large parcels in this way, more and more businesses are showing this label to help warn recipients that their parcel poses a potential manual handling risk.


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