Manual Handling

This section gives some basic advice on the safe movement of objects by hand in the workplace.  There are also links to further information which you may find of use.

Network Rail is currently undertaking a Manual Handling Improvement Programme.  This is aimed at assessing and reducing the manual handling risks those working on its premises are exposed to.  As this Programme unfolds, the information on this page will be updated with links to additional information and risk assessment checklists.

What is manual handling?

Manual handling can be described as lowering, lifting, pulling, pushing, holding  and carrying.  In effect, any activity that requires an individual to lift, move or support a load, will be classified as a manual handling task.

Legal duties and obligations around manual handling

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations state that employers should adopt a hierarchy of control measures:

  • Avoid hazardous manual handling operations so far as is reasonably practicable. Consider alternative ways of working, e.g. automation or mechanization
  • Assess any hazardous handling tasks that cannot be avoided. This involves finding ways of making the work easier, less risky and less physically demanding
  • Reduce the risk of injury so far as is reasonably practicable. This means to reduce risks until the cost of further precautions in time, money or trouble would be too great in proportion to the benefits

Employees also have responsibilities.  They should:

  • Follow appropriate systems of work laid down for their safety
  • Make proper use of equipment provided for their safety
  • Co-operate with their employer on health and safety matters
  • Inform the employer if they identify hazardous manual handling activities
  • Take care to ensure their activities do not put others at risk.

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