Manual Handling Training

blog-publish-date 25 April 2023

Training your employees to complete manual handling tasks correctly is essential. It can be the difference between a job being done correctly and safely, versus your employees being seriously injured.

As an employer, it's your legal duty to ensure that your employees take part in effective manual handling training courses. We've put together a free download to help illustrate how employees should be undertaking manual handling tasks safely.

This article explores manual handling training and the role it plays in ensuring employee safety.

If you're unsure of where to start or need further information, get in touch with one of our health and safety experts here.

Two employees with training certificate in how to operate lifting machinery.

What is manual handling training?

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations (MHOR) 1992 defines manual handling as ‘any transporting or supporting of a load (including the lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving thereof) by hand or bodily force.’

This legislation aims to reduce instances of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) among workers. It puts you under the legal obligation to conduct a suitable assessment of risks to employees for the manual handling of loads.

It defines a load as an ‘object, person or animal’. The regulations require you to consider factors that can create a risk of injury to your staff members.

Examples of factors include

  • The weight of the item.
  • The carrying distance of the item.
  • Twisting, turning, bending, stretching or any other posture staff may adopt when completing tasks.

an employer undertaking manual handling operations and helping an employee avoid a non fatal workplace injuries

What is manual handling training?

Whether we know it or not, physical labor happens every day at work.

Manual handling training is important because, as the name suggests, it teaches workers everything they need to know about maneuvering loads safely. It also includes training on techniques for lifting, pushing, pulling, and storing correctly

Training isn’t just a requirement for warehouse workers. Likewise, accidents aren’t just confined to construction sites. Incorrect handling of heavy loads can happen in many different workplaces. For example, in kitchens where staff members lift heavy pans or large boxes or when changing the water cooler in an office

The importance of manual handling training

Manual handling happens in a vast majority of workplaces every day.

The most common injury from manual handling is musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). It refers to an injury of the joint of tissues in the upper and lower limbs of the back. The main importance of a manual handling training course is to reduce injuries.

If done correctly, completing an online course or an in-person training course can help to increase productivity. According to the HSE, employers lost more than 37 million working days last year due to work-related ill health and non-fatal workplace injuries.

This was a result of work-related illnesses with MSDs accounting for 27% of those days.

an infographic showing how an employee should be lifting heavy items from an online training course.


Is manual handling training mandatory?

Yes. All employers are responsible for the physical and mental wellbeing of their staff. This includes putting employees through a manual handling course, and other courses that can help improve health and safety in the workplace.

While some jobs might not need employees to lift or move heavy loads, a large number of businesses do.

Is manual handling training a legal requirement for all staff members?

While all employees may benefit from a manual handling training course, it is mostly aimed at workers whose duties and responsibilities include the transportation of goods. Examples of professions include:

  • Warehouse and factory staff.
  • Delivery drivers.
  • Office workers.
  • Construction site workers.
  • Loading and unloading workers.
  • And manual labourers.

manual handling training course taking place in the workplace, in addition to an online course.

What is the procedure for manual handling?

This regulation requires all employers to comply with the rules set in place.

It sets out a hierarchy of measures (first, second and third) that you must follow to reduce risks of injuries to the workforce from manual handling. You must:

  • Avoid manual handling operations so far as is reasonably practicable (first).
  • Assess the unavoidable risks in any manual handling operations. (second).
  • Reduce the risk of injury so far as reasonably practicable (third).

What does TILE stand for in manual handling?

TILE is an acronym used during risk assessment and assessments relating to the various factors to consider. It prompts the assessor to consider each criterion required to improve health and safety. It stands for:


Consider manual handling activity and how it may affect employee health and safety.


Think about the person carrying out the task.


This is the consideration for the object or person that requires moving.


Consider the area in which the load is being moved (to and from).

How long does a manual handling training course last?

Depending on the number of people at the training and the job role, an average course usually takes two to four hours to complete. Once completed, they receive a certificate verifying that they’ve completed the course.

You might be wondering; how often should manual handling training be given?

The HSE, along with other professional bodies, recommend refreshing employee training at least every year for most job roles, this can either be done through in-person training or through online manual handling training depending on the work task.

This ensures they’re up-to-date with the latest trends and practices.

Two work helmets, that can be used when employees undertake manual handling operations

Once passed, does manual handling training expire?

Yes. To ensure continued safety, the HSE advises that you refresh your training at least once a year.

This is to ensure you keep up-to-date with the latest health & safety trends and changes in your industry.

Manual handling training aids

Apart from the manual handling courses and online training courses, there are other steps that you can take to limit the risk to staff members.

Consider investing in aids that’ll further support your employees. Products can include

  • Anti-slip handling belts.
  • Trolleys or sack barrows to move items
  • Wheelbarrows

an employer carrying out a training course for their employees.

Expert advice

The health and safety of your employees should be one of your top priorities. Carrying out manual handling training courses and risk assessments can help you to reduce the risk of injury for your employees and anyone who visits your premises.

Take a look at our free download on safe manual handling to help show your employees how they can safely carry items and reduce the risk of developing back injuries.

Croner offers practical manual handling training to keep your workers safe whatever job they may be doing. Contact us for more information: 0800 470 2505