why is manual handling training important? Safeti

Why is Manual Handling Training important?

So, why is Manual Handing training important then? The HSE (GB) estimates that 8.9 Million working days were lost due to these MSK disorders.

Manual handling, awkward or tiring positions and keyboard work (DSE) or repetitive action are regarded as the key causes of work-related musculoskeletal disorders.

As you can see, this is a significant and avoidable cost to both individuals and businesses. 

Workplace Health and Safety Act | Safeti
Source: HSE GB

In Ireland, Manual handling injuries are the most common workplace injury (see image), with over 30% physical injuries relating to the back, arm or shoulders.  

For GB, in the 2020/21 business year, there were approximately 470,000 (yes, ~0.5 Million!) work-related musculoskeletal (MSK) disorder cases. 81% of these were related to the upper limbs, neck or back.

What is Manual Handling?

Manual handling occurs ‘when a person is supporting or transporting a load by hand or by using bodily force’.

To avoid manual handling or musculo-skeletal injuries, performing a sufficient manual handling training and applying a few simple manual handling principles can help reduce risk.

Watch our Manual Handling video to learn more!

Manual Handling Regulations NI and GB

Due to the scale of the issue, the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 were implemented to outline the legal requirements for businesses in the UK.

For NI, these are known as the Manual Handling Operations Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1992.

why is manual handling training important? Safeti

The law sets out how employers must deal with risks from manual handling:

Manual Handling Regulations Ireland

In Ireland, the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work, (General Applications) Regulations 2007, Chapter 4 of  Part 2, outline the requirements that must be adhered to in relation to manual handling. 

In summary, employer’s must endeavour to do the following;

  • Carry out a manual handling risk assessment of existing tasks
  • Organise tasks to reduce need for manual handling, including rotation, layout and mechanical aids
  • Provide instruction and training to staff

As with any health and safety management, the approach and resource required should be proportionate the risk involved.

HSA Manual Handling Statistics
HSA Manual Handling Statistics 2019

Manual Handling Regulations Australia

The model WHS Regulations introduced in Australia have duties that apply to manual handling. This includes managing risks of hazardous manual tasks, plant and the work environment.  

As a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU), you must, so far as is reasonably practicable: 

Manual Handling Regulations Australia
  •  ensure the health and safety of workers and others at your workplace  
  • consult with workers who carry out work for the business or undertaking and who are (or are likely to be) directly affected by a health and safety matter, and 

  • consult cooperate and coordinate activities with all other relevant duty holders. 

Designers, manufacturers, importers and suppliers of plant and structures also have specific duties. 

They must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that products don’t pose risks to health and safety. This includes making sure they won’t result in MSD risks, when used as intended. The model Code of Practice – Hazardous manual tasks explains how to manage the risks of hazardous manual tasks. 

How often is Manual Handling Training required?

Let’s say you have trained your team already, how often is manual handling training required to be repeated?

The answer to this question really depends on various factors, including the risk profile of your business, the type and variability of your work, the frequency of manual handling activities and so forth.

Manual Handling Training Frequency

It is widely accepted that every two years is sufficient for classroom/site-based training.

Where there is significant manual handling risk in the business, it’s important that this includes an element of on-site, practical training integrated into your manual handling regime.

However, as a general rule of thumb, we normally advise our Client’s to include at least an annual theory-based training frequency for their staff, which covers the key principles of manual handing safely. This includes automatically enrolling new recruits onto the course!

Why is Manual Handling Training important for business? Safeti

Our free, online Manual Handling Training course ticks this box perfectly.

Free Manual Handling Training

Need a little more than the blog? You can learn the 5 Manual Handling principles by video and more, including achieving a learning certificate, just enrol in our FREE Manual Handling Training

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Why is Manual Handling training important? | Recap

Hopefully this short post provides an adequate answer and explanation to the question ‘Why is Manual Handling training important?‘.

With the background injury and illness data alongside some specific regulations for context, we hope it is easy to see the importance of manual handling training for businesses and the rationale behind recommended manual handling training frequency.

Does your business require Health and Safety support?

If you have a question on workplace manual handling or manual handling training, drop our H&S professionals a message via the Live Chat tool (bottom right) or by using the contact form below. We have some fantastic options for both online and classroom-based manual handling training.


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