SC12 - Manual handling
Safe manual handling operations
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This code establishes STFC requirements to ensure that manual handling operations are carried out in a safe manner on STFC sites and by STFC staff.
Statutory requirements are set out in the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (as amended). The regulations require employers to avoid manual handling tasks which may give rise to injury and, where such manual handling cannot be avoided, to make an assessment and to take appropriate measures to remove or reduce the risk of injury.
More than a third of all over-three–day injuries reported each year to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are caused by manual handling and back injuries from manual handling are a major cause of occupational ill health in the UK.
This Code applies to all STFC employees, facility users, visitors and tenants undertaking manual handling operations on STFC sites and to all STFC staff working on Council business at non STFC sites.
This code does not apply in emergencies, or where actions intended to save life are being undertaken for example first aiders moving an injured person.
Contractors are responsible for assessing their own manual handling risks and as appropriate, documenting their significant manual handling assessments. Contract Superintending Officers should ensure that this is done.
3.1 Manual handling operation or task
Transporting or supporting a load by hand or bodily force, including the lifting, putting down, carrying or moving a load.
3.2 Significant manual handling hazard
Significant manual handling hazards are those in which there is a higher likelihood of injury occurring. Examples where this may be the case include: unusually shaped or unstable loads; excessive weights or awkward loads; cramped work areas resulting in bad posture e.g. stooping or twisting; or lifts requiring a load being held away from the body i.e. at arms length.
No absolute definition of significant can be provided, as it is closely dependent on the task, load, environment in which the task takes place and the individual(s) concerned. It therefore relies on the judgement and experience of management.
3.3 Manual handling hazard
A dedicated form for risk assessment tailored to prompt consideration of the hazards specific to manual handling operations, see Appendix 3.
3.4 Manual handing weight limits
The Regulations do not establish absolute limits on the maximum weights that can be lifted but do provide guidelines; these are 25kg for men and 16kg for women, where the load is at waist height. At any position other than waist height these limits are reduced progressively to 10kg for men and 7kg for women, at head or ankle height - see Appendix 1 (PDF - 403kB - link opens in a new window).
Under no circumstances should an employee of the STFC, tenant, user or visitor exceed the upper limit of 25kg.
4.1 Directors/Group leaders shall:
4.1.1 establish and maintain a register of tasks involving significant manual handling hazards within their area of responsibility and undertake manual handling risk assessments for these tasks, entering the results in SHE Enterprise (link opens in a new window).
4.1.2 ensure for all significant manual handling hazards that a documented manual handling assessment, (see Appendices 2and 3), is completed for the task detailing current and required measures to minimise the risk of injury.
4.1.3 prioritise actions where a manual handling assessment identifies a range of actions that compete for resource and priority.
4.1.4 ensure that where manual handling assessments ( or general Risk Assessments) identify specific actions to minimise the risk of manual handling injuries they are undertaken promptly and to plan.
4.2 Line Managers shall:
4.2.1 where practicable avoid the need for employees to undertake manual handling where there is a significant risk of injury by:
- carrying out the task in a way that eliminates the need for lifting; or
- employing experienced material handling personnel to undertake the task.
4.2.2 minimise the risk of injury where avoidance of manual handling is not practicable by:
- ensuring a suitable and sufficient manual handling assessment is carried out. Where the risk of injury or ill health is significant this should be documented and recorded in SHE Enterprise. Manual handling assessments should thereafter be reviewed in the light of changes to workplace procedures, activities or equipment, or changing legislation, and as a minimum reviewed every 2 years. See Appendices 2 and 3 , and
- taking steps to reduce the risk of injury by providing lifting aids, trolleys or pallet trucks etc. identified in manual handling assessments, and
- providing employees with general information and where reasonably practicable, precise information on the weight, centre of gravity, contents and other relevant information on specific loads. This information may be on the load itself or with accompanying documentation.
4.3 Employees, tenants, users and visitors shall:
4.3.1 use any equipment or systems provided to minimise the risk of injury arising from manual handling activities, where documented this will be stated in manual handling assessments.
4.3.2 inform their employer/supervisor of any physical condition which may affect their capacity to carry out any manual handling task.
4.3.3 report all injuries or near misses involving manual handling, see SHE Code 5 'Incident reporting and investigation', and seek Occupational Health/medical advice promptly, as early intervention in diagnosis and treatment of back injuries greatly improves the likelihood of a successful recovery.
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