Elmbridge Community Eco Hub CIC

Manual Handling Policy

Tel: 07831 637986

Email – info@elmbridgeecohub.org.uk


We want everyone to have a safe and rewarding experience working or volunteering with the Eco Hub. Please read these guidance notes, which are taken from UK Health and Safety Executive advice on manual handling.   Importantly, please don’t at any time take on a task you can’t manage, and always feel able to ask a team member for help.

The importance of manual handling

Manual handling causes over a third of all workplace injuries. These include work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) such as pain and injuries to arms, legs and joints, and repetitive strain injuries of various sorts. The term manual handling covers a wide variety of activities including lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling and carrying. If any of these tasks are not carried out appropriately there is a risk of injury.

Why is dealing carefully with manual handling important?

Manual handling injuries can have serious implications. They can occur almost anywhere in the workplace and heavy manual labour, awkward postures, repetitive movements of arms, legs and back or previous/existing injury can increase the risk.

What do I have to do?

To help prevent manual handling injuries in the workplace, you should avoid such tasks as far as possible. Does the item really need to be moved or can the activity be done safely where it is by redesigning the task? Can products or materials be delivered directly to where they will be used?

Where it is not possible to avoid handling a load, for any lifting activity always take into account:

  • your capability
  • the nature of the load
  • environmental conditions
  • training
  • work organisation

If you need to lift something manually:

Reduce the amount of twisting, stooping and reaching

  • Avoid lifting from floor level or above shoulder height, especially heavy loads
  • Adjust storage areas to minimise the need to carry out such movements
  • Consider how you can minimise carrying distances
  • Assess the weight to be carried and whether you can move the load safely or need any help – maybe the load can be broken down to smaller, lighter components
  • Consider whether you can use a lifting aid, such as a trolley
  • Think about storage as part of the delivery process – maybe heavy items could be delivered directly, or closer, to the storage area
  • Reduce carrying distances where possible

Good handling techniques for lifting

  • Think before lifting/handling. Plan the lift. Can handling aids be used? Where is the load going to be placed? Will help be needed with the load? Remove obstructions from the route such as discarded wrapping materials. For a long lift, consider resting the load midway on a table or bench to change grip.
  • Adopt a stable position. Your feet should be apart with one leg slightly forward to maintain balance (alongside the load, if it is on the ground). Be prepared to move your feet during the lift to maintain your stability. Avoid tight clothing or unsuitable footwear, which may make this difficult.
  • Get a good hold. Where possible, the load should be hugged as close as possible to your body. This may be better than gripping it tightly with hands only.
  • Start in a good posture. At the start of the lift, slight bending of the back, hips and knees is preferable to fully flexing the back (stooping) or fully flexing the hips and knees (squatting).
  • Don’t flex your back any further while lifting. This can happen if your legs begin to straighten before starting to raise the load.
  • Keep the load close to your waist. Keep the load close to your body for as long as possible while lifting. Keep the heaviest side of the load next to your body. If a close approach to the load is not possible, try to slide it towards your body before attempting to lift it.
  • Avoid twisting your back or leaning sideways, especially while your back is bent. Your shoulders should be kept level and facing in the same direction as your hips. Turning by moving your feet is better than twisting and lifting at the same time.
  • Keep your head up when handling. Look ahead, not down at the load, once it has been held securely.
  • Move smoothly. The load should not be jerked or snatched as this can make it harder to keep control and can increase your risk of injury.
  • Don’t lift or handle more than you can easily manage. There is a difference between what you can lift and what you can safely lift. If in doubt, seek advice or get help.
  • Put down, then adjust. If precise positioning of the load is necessary, put it down first, then slide it into the desired position.

Version 2 – May 2023