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London Borough of Waltham Forest Case Study

Manual Handling Instructor Course

15 Minute Read

The London Borough of Waltham Forest contracted Osteopathic Solutions in October 2022 to provide an Accredited 2 Day Manual Handling Instructor (Train the Trainer) Assessor Course. This was the 10th London Borough to contract our Expert Training Services.

This Accredited Course was booked by Waltham Forest's Corporate Head of Health, Safety & Wellbeing


Gareth Milner, Director & Business Owner of Osteopathic Solutions Ltd held the pre-Course management.

The pre-Course management guarantees that the attendees are fully prepared to attend the Course knowing all the aspects of its outline; that suitable equipment and working environments have been provided for the practical and the final Practical Assessment (at the end of Day 2); and therefore the pre-Course management is a fundamental step towards enjoyable, satisfying and remarkable Training. Our remarkable job starts from the very first phone call. Check out the “Behind The Scenes'' at this link.

Osteopathic Solutions is constantly striving to give you remarkable results.  We provide engaging, professionally run, and biomechanically correct Programmes with the aim to significantly reduce your Council´s Manual Handling Lost Time Accidents. That's why the word ´Solutions´ is in our Business name. We are Healthcare Practitioners. We are Osteopaths. We are Manual Handling Instructors. We are Manual Handling Risk Management Experts. We are your solution to your Manual Handling problems.

Complete our Manual Handling Risk Management Questionnaire!

Firstly, how long does it take to write and process a RIDDOR report following a Manual Handling Accident? How long does it take to manage a Manual Handling Injury at Work Claim? Taking the small amount of time to download (click the Infographic to the left) and complete your answers to the 20 Questions will help you to organise your Manual Handling Risk Management strategy.​ Once you have completed the Questionnaire please send it to Gareth Milner via a direct LinkedIn message and meet him via Microsoft Teams.

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The 2 Day Course was run at Waltham Forest's Low Hall Depot at the competitive, fixed cost of £1995, training up to 6 attendees. The Course was delivered by our London based Manual Handling Expert Instructor Giovanni Bruno who is Business Owner of Osteopathic Clinic MiTo Healthcare. Giovanni joined our Team in 2021.


Waltham Forest arranged 5 attendees from different Council divisions such as Health & Safety management, Refuse & Recycling and from the Library department. With 5 attendees this worked out at only £399 per attendee. Our cost effectiveness, bespoke Council delivery and national coverage is why over 100 Councils have contracted us since 2010.

The goals of our 2 Day 'Council Services' Course is to teach attendees to:


  • Deliver with confidence an in-house 2 Hour Practical Skills Course 

  • Educate the workforce on which musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) develop with repetitive, hazardous Manual Handling practices

  • Teach the workforce safer Manual Handling techniques & practices for lifting, carrying, lowering, pushing, pulling and team handling

  • Conduct Manual Handling Risk Assessments

  • Reduce Council Manual Handling Lost Time Accidents & Injury at Work Claims

Day 1 started at 8am with a site tour of the Waltham Forest Waste Services Depot with Giovanni assessing suitable tasks, loads, environments and equipment for the practical coverage, supporting his Expert delivery of a Bespoke Manual Handling Instructor Assessor Course. At 9am Giovanni commenced the Course with a brief introduction of himself (as well as the Attendees to him) followed up by the Course Outline and Learning Outcomes. In the Classroom using Osteopathic Solutions professional PowerPoint (shown to the right) Giovanni briefly explained the basic laws and guidelines regarding Manual Handling Risk Management, as well as basic structure and function of the spine, muscles, ligaments, discs and joints.


At Osteopathic Solutions we do all things both professionally and with an element of fun. Giovanni (like all of our UK Team of Manual Handling Instructors) is always keen on avoiding the use of any technical jargon and always endeavours to make his Courses fun and entertaining. In this picture above you can see a smiley Giovanni looking at one of the main culprits of pain and discomfort in the neck and shoulders, the trapezius muscle. This is a diamond shaped muscle which is active in all Manual Handling tasks. The primary function of the trapezius muscle is the following:


  • Elevate the Shoulder Blades

  • Side Bend, Rotate (twist) & Backward bend the neck

  • Provide Neck and Mid-Back Stability


Teaching basic structure and function of the musculoskeletal system is a fundamental part of the Course as it helps the attendees (and soon to be Instructors) to understand why Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) occur and to visualise what is happening in our body while we perform Manual Handling tasks.

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True Story of Business Regret - Story 4

In writing his Book Sorry! We’re Closed Gareth Milner met and interviewed 7 people who suffered a considerable musculoskeletal injury from their Manual Handling tasks and who were each successful in their claim for damages.


‘Mr. Winter’ was employed by ‘Augusta Borough Council'. The task that initiated his herniated neck disc involved lifting and carrying a heavy sofa over a wall. You can see Emma Farrell's Book illustration of this task to the left. ‘Mr. Winter’ was awarded in Court the sum of £62,350. Click the illustration to read Story 4.

At Osteopathic Solutions we rightly believe that Manual Handling Courses should be kept practical as much as possible and therefore attendees were asked to stand up from their chairs and try hazardous handling movements to fully understand all the injuries derived from them such as hip osteoarthritis or a prolapsed lumbar disc.


Video footage (from different industries) of hazardous lifting, carrying and lowering techniques and practices were presented to the attendees. Each video was discussed thoroughly by Giovanni with the attendees and included the following:

  • The spinal movements performed

  • What areas of the body are under mechanical strain 

  • What musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) could occur

  • What the Employer could do after Risk Assessment to reduce Manual Handling risks

  • What the principles of ‘BackSafe’ technique are

Before the afternoon practical Giovanni presented safer Manual Handling techniques and practices through our Council Services Manual Handling Training Video. To the right is the Introduction to this Video.


After lunch break Giovanni started the practical part of the 2 Day Manual Handling Instructor Course which began with postural awareness. The attention was focused particularly on spinal movements such as:


  • Forward Bending

  • Forward Bending & Twisting

  • Side Bending

  • Twisting

  • Backward Bending

At Osteopathic Solutions the health and wellbeing of our attendees is paramount; it is never neglected therefore after the postural awareness, Giovanni and the attendees performed some simple but effective warming up exercises. Giovanni started to demonstrate the core principles of “BackSafe” lifting, carrying and lowering including:


  • Keep the load close

  • Face square on to the load

  • Bend Through your hips & knees

  • Use the Powerful Leg Muscles

  • Keep your Spinal S-Shape


Curious about them? If you want your employees to learn and apply these key principles check out our Train In 15 Video via this link or click the image to the left.

As you can see from the photos below each attendee has been asked to perform a semi squat lift and lower, a lunge lift and a full squat lift and lower. The task practice started with moderate weight to allow the attendees to be able to practise more efficiently “BackSafe” principles and then the second attempt was practised with a 20kg bag full of Absorbent Granules which are usually carried along the Waltham Forest Council Depot.


A fundamental part of our Manual Handling Course is to instruct our students about hazardous Manual Handling practice and all the injuries associated with them. What better way to make them learn by feeling themselves? (No human being was harmed during this part of the Course!). In the left picture below you can see how much mechanical strain is enforced on the lower back and to the neck and shoulder in the right photo below.

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Last but not least on Day 1, the attendees were taken through “BackSafe” principles of Team Handling which sadly, is rarely performed in industry. At Osteopathic Solutions we firmly believe in Team Handling as it can dramatically reduce Manual Handling injuries. Giovanni reminded the attendees that good communication and coordination are essential for best practice Team Handling. Which 2 man practices below are hazardous and why? What technical errors do you notice? (which were corrected by Giovanni).

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The same “BackSafe” lifting, carrying and lowering principles need to be applied to Team Handling as well with the Team Leader using the command “ Ready, Brace, Lift ” specifying that the lift will occur on “lift”.


After 3 hours of insightful and intense practical, Day 1 of the 2 Day Manual Handling Instructor Course came to an end. The attendees put in a great effort; were of course both mentally and physically tired but rewarded by all the information acquired throughout the Day.

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Our complete Manual Handling Risk Management Programme

  • Are you having problems with Manual Handling?

  • Too many employees with musculoskeletal disorders?

  • Lost time accidents becoming more of a regular event?

  • Dealing with a current Injury at Work Claim?

  • Recently had a significant payout?


Call us on 0845 299 3513 to discuss your Manual Handling issues and see how we can help you take control of your Manual Handling Risk Management.

View our complete Programme by clicking our Brochure image to the left.

Day 2 of our Course is maybe even more intense than Day 1 as attendees are competency assessed with both a Written and Practical Assessment at the end. The morning of Day 2 started with learning the principles of Manual Handling Risk Assessment; how to use the different HSE Tools and ultimately how to perform a Manual Handling Risk Assessment.


Osteopathic Solutions does not teach just how to become an Expert Manual Handling Trainer but also how to perform a thorough Manual Handling Risk Assessment and become a remarkable and skillful Risk Assessor.


The first hour was spent discussing the Manual Handling Assessment Chart (MAC Tool). Video footage in a Food Factory was presented by Giovanni (shown below left) and via group learning the lifting and carrying part of the MAC Tool was covered.

Giovanni then presented Video footage of the same food factory but this time he asked attendees to assess the carrying operation (shown above right). Faster and quicker than before, students filled the MAC Tool almost immediately and realised the limits of the MAC Tool pointing out that it cannot be used to thoroughly assess a Manual Handling task, but is a good starting point in learning the Risk Assessment process.

After a coffee break attendees were ready to move on into the next tool, the Risk Assessment of Pushing and Pulling (RAPP) Tool.


Giovanni showed again a couple of Videos: the first Video (for Wheeled Equipment) was recorded at a College where a Facilities employee pushed a makeshift trolley containing a load weight of 140 kg. The trolley was pushed all around the campus.

The second Video (for loads without wheels) was recorded in a UK Bakery Factory where an operative was pushing a stack of crates along the factory floor. Again all the benefits and limitations of the RAPP Tool were discussed via group learning. 

The final part of the Manual Handling Risk Assessment coverage was discussing the HSE Manual Handling Checklists. This time the Video involved single person lifting of a 30kg wooden “form” (shown to the left). This awkward load has blades on it which are used to cut sheet material in the machine press.


The task shown in this Video has been assessed as a HIGH RISK of injury. The group promptly pointed out the high risk of spinal disc and shoulder injury. Have you ever heard of the rotator cuff muscles? This task is a high risk of injury of the rotator cuff!

The final part of the Manual Handling Risk Assessment coverage was discussing the HSE Manual Handling Checklists. This time the Video involved single person lifting of a 30kg wooden “form” (shown to the left). This awkward load has blades on it which are used to cut sheet material in the machine press.


The task shown in this Video has been assessed as a HIGH RISK of injury. The group promptly pointed out the high risk of spinal disc and shoulder injury. Have you ever heard of rotator cuff muscles? This task is high risk of injury to the rotator cuff!

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Once you have assessed the load you should position yourself by:

  • Facing the load with one foot in front of the other

(the front foot heel should be just in front of the rear foot toes)

  • Placing the feet your normal hip width apart

  • Bending both your knees (no more than a semi-

  • Placing your hands safely on the load, wrapping
    your fingers around its corners or gripping the handles

  • Keeping your elbows close to your body, level with the trunk

  • Keeping your spine upright, looking forward

To initiate movement of the load forward from a standing start drive your whole body forward with your leg muscles, keeping your elbows in, your spine upright and your head looking forward.

Day 2 practical started with learning the principles of:


  • Pushing

  • Pulling

  • Team pushing and pulling


Like at all Councils, at the London Borough of Waltham Forest many different loads are being pushed and pulled daily by operatives such as wheelie bins, commercial bins, sack barrows and trolleys.


Giovanni requested attendees to show him their pushing and pulling techniques in order to make them understand the difference between “common and natural practices” and safe practices.

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Facing the Load enables you to control the movement of the load and generally does not involve as much use of body weight (resulting in unsafe spinal posture) compared to pulling facing away from the load. Once you have assessed the load and it is not too heavy for pulling you should position yourself by:


  • Facing the load with one foot in front of the other (the front foot heel should be level with the rear foot toes)

  • Placing the feet your normal hip width apart

  • Bending both your knees (no more than a semi-

  • Placing your hands safely on the load, wrapping
    your fingers around its corners or gripping the handles

  • Keeping your elbows close to your body, level with the trunk

  • Keeping your spine upright, avoiding a significant backward bend

Giovanni then demonstrated safe principles of pushing and pulling before attendees practised.


After single person pushing and pulling, team practice was performed with the students and special attention was put on communication, coordination, body positioning and use. After several attempts (with a fully laden commercial bin) of “Ready, Brace, Push” and “Ready, Brace, Pull” the group was satisfied and above all competent with the practice.


After a deserved lunch break, Giovanni explained the basic structure of how a 2 Hour Course should be delivered as they may soon be asked by their employer to deliver an in-house Manual Handling Training Course.


Before moving to the most challenging part for the attendees, the Exam (or as we call it the Course Assessment) Giovanni kindly did a quick revision of everything that had been covered over the 2 Days.

Firstly was the Practical Assessment for each attendee. Attendees can commonly be nervous about this, but it is an essential part of the Course to assure that these attendees have learnt enough from our intensive programme, in order to deliver safe and best practice training to their workforce.

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After the 20 minute Practical Assessment for each attendee came the Written Assessment, now a 25 Question Multiple Choice Paper.

At the end Giovanni was satisfied (giving his thumbs up!) with the Course delivery as all attendees passed the Course Assessment, some of them with a Distinction mark and were certificated as Waltham Forest Council’s Manual Handling Instructors. A remarkable job done!

Our 2 Day Manual Handling Course (Train the Trainer) is the perfect way to train your Training Team in delivering a 2 Hour Manual Handling Course. If you want to know more click this link or give us a call on 0845 299 3513.

Osteopathic Solutions
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