Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies

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Manual Handling

Manual handling includes any occasion where objects, equipment, people or animals are physically moved in any way. This includes lifting, lowering, carrying, pushing and pulling, and may involve one or more workers.

According to the Health and Safety Executive, more than a quarter of all accidents reported each year are associated with manual handling. The vast majority of these accidents result in three days or more off work, most commonly due to sprains or strains, often of the back.

There is a growing belief among medical professionals that most manual handling strain injuries tend to be cumulative – the accumulation of actions over time, rather than any one single handling incident. Mistakes with manual handling can also cause spontaneous injuries such as fractures, cuts and bruises.

The main areas of concern regarding manual handling are lifting and carrying, and it is important to avoided twisting and stooping where possible. The activity could also include pushing, pulling or team handling.

The Legislation

Under Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act (HASAWA) 1974, the University has a duty to provide a safe place of work and safe systems of work, so far as is reasonably practicable. This duty includes the need to minimise the risk arising from manual handling activities.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (MHSWR) 1999 require the University to assess any risk arising from its activities. It places the responsibility upon the University to identify and assess all work activities, this includes manual handling.

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations (MHOR) 1992 (as amended) require risks to people’s health and safety from manual handling activities, to be prevented or adequately controlled. Where it is not possible to avoid manual handling, and these activities involve significant risk (outside the recommended guidelines), a detailed, specific manual handling risk assessment will need to be completed.


All staff should complete the Health & Safety Services Manual Handling e-training module. Staff whose job involves significant manual handling should undertake a practical manual handling course available through Health and Safety Services.

People Especially at Risk From Manual Handling

Staff who are especially at risk from manual handling include new or expectant mothers, anyone below 18 years of age, staff known to have a history of relevant health problems, and staff with a previous manual handling injury.

If any of these people work in the School and their role involves manual handling, then individual risk assessments must be completed to ensure the risks are adequately controlled.

General Information on Manual Handling

Further information and guidance on manual handling including the Manual Handling Risk Assessment is available from the Health and Safety Services website: http://wsh.leeds.ac.uk/info/211/manual_handling/131/manual_handling.


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