Friday, October 26, 2012

The Need For Training For Manual Handling

Almost all workplaces have staff who are involved in Manual Handling. Most activities involve lifting and/or carrying and if it takes place in the workplace then it is covered by the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992. Business owners have to make sure that lifting is eliminated where possible (which is not that often in reality) and when it does take place it is as safe as possible; one aspect of this is manual handling training.

The regulations do not state how often training is to take place apart from what timescales you identify in your manual handling risk assessment. Most organisations consider annual training appropriate as it fits in with annual reviews and it would appear to be a reasonable timescale to work to.

Who should be trained?

If someone is handling every day or at least a few times a week, then they should definitely attend a training session. Staff who don't lift very often are at greater risk in some ways although is it practical to train everyone who could possibly lift? You should consider what is appropriate and record your reasons so that you have evidence, presumably supported by a risk assessment or other information.

What should be covered?

Manual handling training should be a balance between theory and practical application. That said in some situations staff are not based on one site and so online training could be considered although it is preferable to hold a hands on course whenever possible.

Reference should be made to the legislation but for most people they just need to know it exists and not much more. Of more concern is the practical knowledge of how to lift safely. The focus of the course needs to be lifting techniques as well as looking at the load, the environment, planning the work and how individuals and teams can work effectively. Most training would follow the commonly adopted technique of TILE (Task, Individual, Load and Environment) and explain each section and what can be done to reduce the risks.

Other areas to be covered could include how to use handling & lifting devices and personal protection e.g. shoes and gloves and good housekeeping.

As always all training needs to be recorded so you have evidence it has been completed. Manual Handling training, whilst obviously important, should not be relied upon to reduce handling risks - ongoing measures such as load reduction or using mechanical aids also need to be in place to reduce the likelihood and severity of an injury.

Nigel J Welford is a qualified Health & Safety professional and believes in making health and safety as simple as possible whilst still being effective and meeting all the regulations. For his free report "The Secret To How Health & Safety Can Improve Your Business And Profits: 7 Everyday Pitfalls To Avoid" from

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