Manual Handling Training: What You Need to Know

Fiona Burns

Fiona Burns


13 Mar 2019


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 from the manual handling of loads.

It defines a load as an ‘object, person or animal’. And requires 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.

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

What is manual handling training?

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

As the name suggests, it teaches workers everything they need to know about manoeuvring loads safely. It also includes training on techniques for lifting, pushing, pulling, and storing.

Training isn’t just limited to warehouse workers. Accidents aren’t just confined to construction sites. It can happen in offices and kitchens where staff members lift heavy pans or large boxes or when changing the water cooler.

The importance of manual handling training

Manual handling happens in many 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 this training is to reduce injuries.

If done correctly, this training can also help to increase productivity. According to the HSE, employers lost more than 37 million working days last year. This was as a result of work-related illnesses with MSDs accounting for 35% of those days.

Is manual handling training mandatory?

Yes. All employers are responsible for the physical and mental wellbeing of their staff. While some jobs might not need employees to lift or move heavy loads, a majority of businesses do.

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

While all employee could do with this training, it is mostly aimed at workers whose duties 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.

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 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 in reasonably practicable (third).

What does TILE stand for in manual handling?

TILE is an acronym used during risk 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:

  • Task: Consider manual handling activity and how it may affect employee health and safety.
  • Individual: Think about the person carrying out the task.
  • Load: This is the consideration for the object or person that requires moving.
  • Environment: Consider the area in which the load is being moved (to and from).

How long does manual handling training last?

Depending on the number of people at the training, an average course should take two to four hours. 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. This is so they’re up-to-date with the latest trends and practices.


Once passed, does manual handling training expire?

Yes. To ensure continued safety, the HSE advises you o 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 training online courses, there’re 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.
  • Dissectible lumbar vertebrae.
  • A lifting manikin model to illustrate the effect of a bad posture.

Expert advice

Croner offers practical manual handling training to keep your workers safe whatever job they may be doing. Contact us for more information: 0808 145 3384

About the Author

Fiona Burns

Fiona Burns has practical experience in Health & Safety and Risk Management having worked for major insurer prior to joining Croner.

She has gained extensive helpline experience offering competent advice and timely support to large number of clients, in various industries and at all levels.  Completed the NEBOSH General Certificate, also passed NEBOSH Environmental Diploma Unit A, (IOSH Managing Environmental responsibilities). NEBOSH Fire and Risk Management Certificate, FPA Advance Fire Training, NCRQ Diploma – Distinction currently completing IPD and volunteering for Community project in Atherstone also as a Dementia support worker with CWPT.


Fiona Burns

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