Our affordable training courses provide excellent value and quality. Join us to gain the knowledge and skills you need for success.

Ultimate Guide to Manual Handling

What is Manual Handling?

Manual handling training is a program designed to educate individuals on the safe lifting, carrying, pushing, and pulling of loads to prevent injuries and musculoskeletal disorders that can result from improper manual handling.

The HSE defines manual handling as:

  • Manual handling means transporting or supporting a load by hand or bodily force. It includes lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving loads. A load can be an object, person or animal.
  • Manual handling tasks are commonly performed in various workplaces such as warehouses, construction sites, factories, healthcare settings, and offices.

Health Risks

Manual handling poses various health risks to individuals involved in such activities. Some of the primary health risks associated with manual handling include:

Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs): One of the most common risks is the development of musculoskeletal disorders such as strains, sprains, and overexertion injuries. These injuries can affect the muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and other soft tissues, leading to pain, discomfort, reduced mobility, and sometimes long-term disabilities.

Back Injuries: Improper lifting techniques or handling heavy loads can strain the muscles and structures in the lower back, leading to back pain, herniated discs, or other spinal injuries. These injuries can be debilitating and may result in extended periods of absence from work.

Joint Injuries: Manual handling tasks that involve repetitive movements, awkward postures, or excessive force can increase the risk of joint injuries, such as tendonitis, bursitis, or arthritis. These conditions can cause pain, inflammation, and reduced range of motion in affected joints.

Accidents and Trauma: Handling heavy objects or navigating through cluttered workspaces can increase the risk of accidents and traumatic injuries, such as cuts, bruises, fractures, or crush injuries. These injuries may occur due to slips, trips, falls, or objects falling onto workers during handling activities.

To mitigate these health risks, employers should:

  • implement appropriate risk assessment and management strategies
  • provide training on safe manual handling techniques
  • ensure the use of mechanical aids and ergonomic equipment
  • promote a culture of health and safety in the workplace

Additionally, workers should be encouraged to report any discomfort, pain, or hazards related to manual handling activities to prevent injuries and promote early intervention.

Employer Responsibilities

As an employer, you must protect your workers from the risk of injury from hazardous manual handling in the workplace. Employers must comply with the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992, as amended by the Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2002.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations require you to assess the risks to the health and safety of your workers. Where this identifies hazardous manual handling of loads, you should also comply with the Manual Handling Operations Regulations.

The Manual Handling Regulations set out a clear hierarchy of measures you must follow to prevent and manage the risks from hazardous manual handling:

  • avoid hazardous manual handling operations, ‘so far as reasonably practicable’.
  • assess the risk of injury to workers from any hazardous manual handling that can’t be avoided.
  • reduce the risk of injury to workers from hazardous manual handling to as low as reasonably practicable.

Workers have duties too. They should:

  • follow systems of work in place for their health and safety.
  • use properly any equipment provided for their health and safety.
  • cooperate with their employer on health and safety matters.
  • inform their employer if things change or they identify hazardous handling activities.
  • take care to make sure their activities do not put others at risk.

Consult and involve your workforce. Your workers and their representatives know first-hand what the risks in the workplace are and can often suggest practical solutions to control them.

HSE, 2020

Manual Handling Training

Our Manual handling courses provide the vital knowledge that will help reduce the risks of injury in the workplace. Effective training in manual handling can lead to less absenteeism, which can have an economic benefit and most importantly reduce individual suffering. Take a look at the manual handling courses we currently offer:

Ouch schedule manual handling open courses regularly throughout the year at our venue in Wimborne, Dorset. These are suitable for individuals or smaller numbers of people. They can also be useful if you have a large group but need them to undertake the training at different times due to work commitments.

We can also deliver in-house training at your own premises on a convenient date for you. This is most suitable for larger groups or for those looking to have training delivered to a number of people at the same time. It’s also useful for those that are based further away from our training venues as Ouch can come to your premises on a convenient date for you.


After successfully completing any of our manual handling training courses, you will receive a digital certificate.

Why is Manual Handling Training important?

Manual handling training is important for several reasons:

Injury Prevention: One of the primary reasons for manual handling training is to prevent injuries. Improper lifting, carrying, pushing, or pulling heavy objects can lead to strains, sprains, and other musculoskeletal injuries. Training teaches employees proper techniques for lifting and handling objects safely, reducing the risk of injury.

Health and Well-being: Manual handling training promotes employee health and well-being by teaching them how to protect their bodies while performing physical tasks. By using correct lifting and handling techniques, employees can reduce the strain on their muscles and joints, helping to prevent long-term injuries and chronic pain.

Compliance with Regulations: In the UK, the Manual Handling Operations Regulations have guidelines in place to ensure the safety of workers, including specific requirements for manual handling. Providing training ensures that employees are aware of their responsibilities and understand how to comply with relevant regulations, reducing the risk of accidents and potential legal consequences for non-compliance.

Increased Efficiency: Proper manual handling techniques not only reduce the risk of injury but also improve efficiency. When employees know how to lift and move objects safely, they can perform tasks more quickly and effectively, leading to increased productivity and reduced downtime due to injuries.

Cost Savings: Workplace injuries related to manual handling can result in significant costs for employers. By investing in manual handling training, employers can reduce the likelihood of injuries and associated costs, ultimately saving money in the long run.

Employee Empowerment: Training empowers employees by giving them the knowledge and skills they need to protect themselves from injury. When employees feel confident in their ability to safely handle objects, they are more likely to take ownership of their safety and actively contribute to a safer work environment.

Overall, manual handling training is essential for promoting workplace safety, reducing the risk of injuries, and ensuring compliance with regulations, ultimately benefiting both employees and employers alike.

Further Information and Guidance

The HSE provides comprehensive guidance on manual handling in the workplace, including regulations, guidance documents, and frequently asked questions.