Manual handling

Manual handling is the moving of any load by bodily force, including lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling or carrying.

Manual handling includes the following.

  • Repetitive body movements (twisting and turning).
  • Horizontal movement (pushing and pulling).
  • Lifting, carrying and lowering loads and materials.

Using suitable manual handling aids (such as wheelbarrows, sack trucks and brick hoists) can reduce the risk of manual handling injuries, which are the construction industry’s biggest cause of ill health.

Every year an estimated 900,000 working days are lost due to handling injuries.

Your back is strong but not as strong as you believe it is. Repeated twisting, straining and incorrect lifting techniques can, over time, lead to injury.

Manual handling injuries resulting from unsafe or incorrect manual handling can affect the following parts of your body.

  • Whole body.
  • Arms.
  • Back.
  • Hands.
  • Shoulders.
  • Feet and ankles.

Back injuries are most common but hernias, ruptures, sprains and strains are all conditions that can result from manual handling.

Your employer has a legal duty to avoid any manual handling activity that will harm you.

Poor posture (such as slouching on the settee, sleeping on a poor supporting mattress, and sitting in a driving position that twists or doesn’t support your spine) can all add to the problem.

Manual handling and lifting injuries are often for life.