Process - Development Challenges - Manual Handling

Manual Handling

Virtually all jobs involve manual handling of some sort and your role is no exception.  You will be involved in daily manual handling activities including; dealing with store deliveries and general movement of stock around the store.


Manual handling is the transporting or supporting of a load, including lifting, putting down, pushing, carrying or moving.


Manual handling activities account for one of the highest causes of accidents or injuries in the workplace.  Injuries can include those to the neck, shoulder, back, arm and wrists eg, strains, sprains and musculoskeletal disorders.   Common injuries can also include trapped fingers and cuts from sharp objects.

It is not always the weight of the load that creates risk: it can be the shape or size of an object, the distance to which it should be moved and even its contents that can cause problems (i.e. if it is hot, cold or sharp)

Manual handling injuries are often cumulative rather than being attributed to any single manual handling incident; so using proper manual handling techniques at all times is key.

Process - Development Challenges - Manual Handling

Manual Handling

To help reduce the amount of manual handling in store, the following guidelines should be followed:


-Wherever possible, goods delivered should be placed directly onto sales floor displays to avoid repeat handling.

-Stockroom and storage areas should be clean and tidy at all times.

-Heavy items should not be stored at height.

-Where there is a specific 'risk of injury' from manual handling operations, a more detailed risk assessment will need to be conducted before the activity takes place.


Correct practices for manual handling


The information below provides detail on the correct practices for manual handling:




Process - Development Challenges - Manual Handling

Manual Handling

Good handling technique for lifting:


Remember! Do not lift or handle more than can be easily managed.  There is a difference between what people can lift and what they can safely lift.  If in doubt seek advice or get help!



Process - Development Challenges - Manual Handling

Manual Handling

6 main lifting techniques in the workplace:


One arm heavy loads: These are not a good idea!  If you cannot avoid them, then do the following:


1. Divide the load into smaller parts

2. Brace your body with the opposite arm

3. Reach for the load, bend your knees and waist and keep your back straight

4. Grip the load firmly (use a handle if there is one)

5. Lift with your legs, using your free arm for balance

6. Keep your shoulders level, change hands regularly by putting down the load first and lifting with the other hand in the same way.


Process - Development Challenges - Manual Handling

Manual Handling

Keeping 'SAFE'




S for STOP

Think about the task do not rush your lift


Question what you are doing:

     How heavy is it?

     Do you need to split the load?

     Is the object safe?

     E.g. no broken, sharp edges etc.

     Are you physically fit to carry out the task?


How are you going to carry out the lift?

     Is the pathway clear?

     Do you need someone to help?

     Should it be done in stages?


Smooth, relaxed lifting, following proper manual handling techniques



Process - Development Challenges - Manual Handling

Manual Handling

How do you know if there's a risk to injury?


Answer: It is a matter of judgement, but there are certain things to look out for, eg. excess fatigue, people puffing and sweating, bad posture, cramped work areas, awkward or heavy loads, people with a history of back trouble.


Is there a maximum weight a person can lift during their work?

Answer: There is no set specific limit.  An individuals capability to undertake the activity without injury must be taken into consideration. EG, you will need to consider the height/size of the individual, if there are any health problems and also gender, especially if the individual is pregnant or recently given birth.

Consideration should always be given to breaking down heavy/bulky deliveries in smaller units in order to reduce the weight where necessary, eg. golf trolley batteries.


What should you do if you have any illness, injury or condition that may be aggravated by lifting an awkward or heavy load?

Answer: Make your manager aware of the problem- if you don't we wont know that you need support to prevent any further aggravation of injury!







Where there is a concern over a manual handling activity or where there is an unusual activity, heavy load, big store changeover ect, a more detailed risk assessment into the activity may need to be conducted.  This would be done in conjunction with the management team, however, you should be aware of the guideline weights for lifting and lowering.


The manual handling general risk assessment guidelines will be displayed in store for reference.  These guidelines help you to make a quick assessment of the work activity and the maximum weights that can be lifted, depending on how the object is being listed or lowered.


Should you have any concerns about any aspects of any manual handling activity you should speak to a member of store management.

Process - Development Challenges - Manual Handling

Manual Handling

Before moving a load you should...

Adopt a good posture

Get a good grip

Stop and think

At the start of the lift you should bend at the knees and hips?



Heavy items can be stored at height?



When moving a load, its weight is the only thing I need to consider?



If I have a condition or injury that can be aggrevated by lifting operations, I should tell me manager.