girl holdling boxes

The Myth:

Manual Handling? You mean spending a day being told how to lift up a box? What a waste of time.

The Reality:

Manual handling training is not mandatory for all staff. Manual Handling Regulations only apply to a work activity that ‘by reason of its characteristics or of unfavourable ergonomic conditions, involves risk, particularly of back injury, to employees.’ A worker who only lifts light loads at waste height, for example, would not be at risk – and sending this worker on a manual handling training course would indeed be a waste of time. 

However, where manual handling does involve a risk of injury the employer needs to act. A third of all workplace injuries reported to the HSA are caused by manual handling activities, and those injuries are a leading cause of work disability.  

The first option should be to remove or reduce the need for manual handling. Here’s some guidance explaining how that can be done. Just providing training will not reduce injury rates and will not protect anyone. Manual handling training needs to be specific and relevant to the tasks involved. So, if your job involves moving heavy barrels around a warehouse, the training should reflect this. In other words, you don’t need to be told how to lift up a box.