The Manual Handling Operations Regulations (1992)

These regulations

Attempt to establish a responsibility to consider the way in which employees lift and carry.  That risk assessments and provision for appropriate help is made. It points to the following to minimise harm:

Avoiding the need for manual handling

Changing the task to avoid moving, and automate this where possible.

Make a suitable assessment where manual handling has to occur.

Reduce the risk involved by changing the task or providing assistance (i.e. hoists)

The regulation states

“Modern medical and scientific opinion accepts the scale of the problem and stresses the importance of an ergonomic approach to remove or reduce the risk of manual handling injury.  Ergonomics is sometimes described as ‘fitting the job to the person, rather than the person to the job’.  The ergonomic approach looks at manual handling as a whole.  It takes into account a range of relevant factors, including the nature of the task, the load, the working environment and individual capability and requires worker participation.

When a more detailed assessment is necessary it should follow the broad structure set out in Schedule 1 to the Regulations.  The Schedule lists a number of questions in five categories:

  1. the task;
  2. the load;
  3. the working environment;
  4. individual capability (this category is discussed in more detail under regulation 4(3) and its guidance); and
  5. other factors, for example use of protective clothing.

Each of these categories may influence the others and none of them can be considered on their own.  However, to carry out an assessment in a structured way it is often helpful to begin by breaking the operations down into separate, more manageable items”

The HSE have a brief overview of the requirements made by this legislation

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