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Danish Crown Case Study

Manual Handling Instructor Programme

The Health & Safety Manager and Training Coordinator at Danish Crown’s Bugle site contracted Osteopathic Solutions in May 2018 to run our Accredited 3 Day Manual Handling Instructor (Train the Trainer) Assessor Programme onsite covering job specific manual handling tasks across the factory floor.


Gareth Milner our Director (pictured throughout this Case Study) ran the course with 8 attendees who would (following successful completion of the course and passing of the Practical and Written Assessment) be providing in house Manual Handling Practical Skills training and some whom would be performing Manual Handling Risk & Ergonomic Assessments, so that the site maintains its compliance under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992.

The Bugle factory processes pork legs, imported from their Denmark factories and has 450 employees. As the course was at food factory, Gareth started the course slightly differently by playing in the classroom our 15 minute Bespoke Manual Handling Training DVD for Pukka Pies which features practical manual handling tasks in the butchery which were the same as what the Bugle site employees performed. The attendees found this to be a great introduction into the course giving them an immediate understanding of what they were going to learn and apply over the coming 3 days.

After the simply explained (jargon free!) and condensed classroom theory morning session on laws relevant to manual handling operations, spinal anatomy and biomechanics (please view our Blog '' Human Biomechanics - Kept Simple '' on this link), our Manual Handling Expert and Director Gareth Milner presented a range of real life videos from different food factories featuring natural but hazardous lifting, carrying and lowering techniques and practises. These included the video to the right with the beef processing factory worker lifting a 25kg box of beef from below knee level on a pallet. 

What safer systems of work can be actioned after a Manual Handling Risk Assessment has been conducted to reduce manual handling lost time accidents?


After the attendees have qualified (see the end of this Case Study) we recommend for their staff induction training to provide 25 minutes of classroom theory featuring clips of unsafe manual handling techniques and practices filmed on the Bugle factory floor. Referring to the video (above right) Gareth discussed the following:

The space is confined with boxes behind the operative and the pallet on the floor. He drags the box with one arm in a forward bent spinal position placing most of his body weight on the front leg (load focusing on the knee joint). He then lifts the load in a forward bent and twisted spinal posture with minimal knee bending. The lower back muscles (and not the legs!) are being recruited to lift the load. This practised over time will likely lead to musculoskeletal injuries throughout his body including lower back disc herniation (or worser still prolapse), shoulder muscle and tendons tears, and osteoarthritis of the knee. Squat lifting (please view our Squat Lifting video on this link) is possible but following a Manual Handling & Ergonomic Risk Assessment his employer should provide a scissor lift (of a high rising pallet truck) and also perform better housekeeping regarding the working space. This would allow for safer manual handling and reduce the likelihood of manual handling accidents.

Within our comprehensive Course Booklet (which spoon feeds attendees in all the technical knowledge they need to deliver training and conduct risk assessments) we detail the best practice structure of presenting and discussing video clips of hazardous manual handling techniques and practices.

To receive our 67 page Course Booklet email us at the bottom of this page with the subject 'FREE BOOKLET' 
& we will email you the PDF version free of charge
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The afternoon kicked off with Gareth observing tasks and loads across the factory floor environments during a walk around with the attendees. Gareth has been to sites like this with Danish Crown’s UK business Tulip Foods. As Manual Handling Risk assessment had been started with the food factory task videos in the classroom, Gareth observed manual handling job specific tasks with the attendees whilst discussing the issues with the task, individual, load and environment (TILE). The 1st manual handling task was transferring the poles of pork thighs (shown in the photos above) from the lorries into the factory.

There are simply tasks that we as humans cannot handle in a way that is safe for the musculoskeletal system. This is one. The load is very heavy, with difficult coupling (grip) and is not stable. The environment is cold which further increases the risk of manual handling injuries. In an ideal world this would be a fully automated task but it is normal with this task (including at other companies) to have to manually transfer the load initially from the lorry into the factory. As our manual handling training is inherently practical, task specific and realistic Gareth observed how some of the attendees perform this awkward task, and then with 1-2-1 coaching (with the rest of the attendees watching) tinkered with their body use and position to maximise power and minimise musculoskeletal strain. The attendees were already buying into the safer practices they would soon be teaching to the workforce.

Manual Handing of food totes
Manual Handing of food totes
Manual Handing of food totes

During this factory tour Gareth discussed the handling issues with food totes which are a standard piece of equipment in wet based food factories including abattoirs and meat processing facilities. In the middle photo above Gareth has his arms raised whilst informing the group that to support backsafe posture pushing loads the grip on the load must be at elbow height (please see our RAPP Tool video assessment on this link). With food totes (as shown in the photo above right) the grip on the load is below waist height which enforces use of bodyweight and a hazardous forward bend of the spine with the arms away from the body. This is high risk for neck and shoulder musculoskeletal injuries and therefore manual handling lost time accidents. Installation of a handle up to elbow height would allow backsafe pushing.

Trolley in confined space on factory floor

The heavy cage shown in the photo to the left was currently positioned with 2 dolavs either side. The cage had fixed wheels and had be to spun around in the confined space to be pulled out of this position which was very strenuous seeing that it was being performed by 1 operator. This was a task that Gareth flagged up to the site Health & Safety Manager for manual handling risk reduction.

       After this risk assessment group work the manual handling practical started with lifting, carrying and lowering covering unsafe practices before the safer lifting techniques through squat practice. After demonstrations by Gareth of semi-squat and full-squat lifting and lowering, the group had their chance for practical. 

As shown in the images below Gareth observes 2 attendees practising a semi-squat lift. As the attendees were soon going to be training the factory floor workforce (upon successful passing of the course practical and written assessment) Gareth encouraged the group to start their instructional practice.

Gareth observed throughout correcting technique and theory when necessary as shown in the video to the right where he offers the correction of head and neck position. This is the way that the attendees should conduct their training, providing demonstrations of the practical tasks followed up by observation of each employee performing their job specific manual handling task with constructive feedback given by the trainer and the group concerning individual task, load and environment assessment and then technique regarding body position, grip and body use during the transfer of the load.

Day 2 of the Manual Handling Instructor Assessor Course started with classroom group work with the MAC Tool (Manual Handling Assessment Charts). We encourage attendees to only use the Manual Handling Risk Assessment Checklists within the Manual Handling Operations Regulations for task risk assessment however covering the MAC tool is an effective way to start manual handling assessments when attendees are being introduced to them for the first time. 

Then real life videos were played in the classroom of hazardous pushing and pulling practices in food factory environments, educating the attendees on unsafe postures and body uses, and also risk factors regarding the task, individual, load and environment. With this knowledge, onto the factory floor for the morning pushing and pulling practical.

We started with pushing and pulling of the heavy trolleys of hooked pork (shown in the video to the right – view after 9 seconds). Due to the width of these trolleys and that the handles are level with the pork product, these factors make for more strain on the shoulders and neck, as the upper body will be enforced to generate pushing and pulling forces. Perhaps a safer way for the musculoskeletal system would be having a high rising pallet truck that raises the trolley up and is used to push the trolley into the oven then removed after the trolley is lowered. This would add a heavier load but would allow for a more ergonomic grip with the pallet truck handle. For our Manual Handling Risk & Ergonomic Assessment click this link.

Pushing of trolley into oven

As shown in the video at 25 seconds the attendee (and in the image to the left) performs a hazardous push with the rear leg straight (placing considerable strain on the rear calf muscles), front leg bent (placing considerable strain on the knee) and arms extended using body weight (placing considerable strain on the neck and shoulders). Of course this is a heavy, awkward load but this is avoidable with adjustments to technique and body position. Following pushing and pulling demonstrations by Gareth, each attendee then performed ‘as backsafe as possible’ pushing and pulling with these trolleys. The group then moved onto pushing trolleys of cooked pork as shown in the photos below. This was a highly repetitive task for operatives and the trolleys were heavy. Therefore it was key for the attendees, and future Instructors to really grasp safer pushing and pulling.

Again one of the issues with these trolleys was that there was no handle projected out from the main frame of the trolley which enforces more use of the upper body with the arms more straight. Also there were site recommendations for grip (shown in the image to the right) with the hands inside the trolley frame. This was to prevent hand entrapment accidents happening. However regarding manual handling this causes a medial rotation of the shoulder joints and additional strain on the shoulder rotator cuff muscles which can easily tear and suffer from tendonitis.

Pushing of trolley with awkward grip
Pulling of trolley

Teaching factory employees safer practice and technique for pushing and pulling is successfully achieved by teaching them unsafe practices also. So that the attendees (and future Manual Handling Trainers) could maximise their effectiveness when teaching safer pushing and pulling Gareth requested that each attendee pushed and pulled the trolley with natural, hazardous practices. In the image to the left the attendee is pulling the cage with one arm from a standing start, the most hazardous technique of pulling for the musculoskeletal system.

Taking an active part in the practical Gareth demonstrated safer pushing of these trolleys (shown in the images below) which gave him a real appreciation of how hard factory roles are due to the amount of times an operator would push these, and their very heavy load weight.

After lunch on Day 2, the RAPP Tool (Risk Assessment of Pushing and Pulling) was covered in the classroom using a food factory video. Each attendee paired up to work through the tool with Gareth covering their answers in a group discussion.

Out of the classroom for the afternoon practical with more pushing and pulling with pallet trucks, using pallets of differing load weights. As our courses are job (task) specific Gareth covered single person handling of pallets. In an ideal world pallets would be handled by 2 operators in a team lift, carry and lower or through Manual Handling Equipment. However Osteopathic Solutions’ team recognise in the real world in busy factory environments, resources dictate that this is not always possible. Handling pallets on your own is hazardous and awkward but Gareth coached the key principles of safest practice which each attendee practiced and performed well.

Single operator manual handling lifting of pallets
Single operator manual handling lifting of pallets
Single operator manual handling lifting of pallets

Team handling of pallets was still covered as it is simply best practice manual handling. Each attendee practised team lifting, carrying and lowering performing best practice communication and coordination under Gareth’s expert tutelage. 3 methods of team carrying were covered (*see offer below).

Day 3 is about the attendees bringing together and engraining the knowledge that they have been introduced to on Days 1 and 2. The HSE’s Manual Handling Risk Assessment Checklists were covered during the morning of Day 3 with Gareth making this more engaging that it could be by linking the risk factors for lifting, carrying, pushing and pulling with risk factors that are applicable to the Danish Crown site’s tasks. In all of our Bespoke Manual Handling Courses our team of Manual Handling Experts keep it simple, as with Manual Handling Risk Assessment we recommend that the HSE’s Manual Handling Risk Assessment Checklists (from the Manual Handling Operations Regulations) are solely used for assessing job specific tasks (however the load weights mentioned in the RAPP tool are useful as is the ART tool for the end of the production line in food factories and assembly factories).

After the morning group practical, the Practical Assessment started. Unlike many non-accredited providers who just do a multiple choice written assessment or even no assessment, we at Osteopathic Solutions take assessment and attendee competency very seriously. Our rigorous 20 minute per attendee Practical Assessment and 45 minute Written Assessment provide your business with the assurance that the attendees have gained sufficient knowledge, understanding and practical competence to conduct in house manual handling training and conduct manual handling risk assessments to the highest quality. The 20 minute per attendee Practical Assessment assesses Semi-Squat and Full-Squat Lifting and Lowering; Lunge Lifting and Lowering; Hazardous Carrying and Best Practice Carrying; Pushing and Pulling; Team Lifting, Carrying and Lowering.

Watch the clips of some of the attendees' Practical Assessments below. Use the PDF underneath each video & mark the attendee on their practical demonstration. How did they score?
Please email Gareth one of your markings to receive a 10% discount off our Instructor Course Programme

To give the attendees a break from assessment after lunch, using pages 47-51 of our Version 2 Course Booklet Gareth went through how to structure and deliver in house Manual Handling training programmes, which is kept simple so that attendees fully understand what they need to do. 

Finishing off the 3 Day Instructor Assessor Course with the 45 minute Written Assessment. 7 of the attendees passed the Course. The other attendee passed after reassessment after the Course. A successful 3 Days at Danish Crown Bugle for all involved!

Osteopathic Solutions
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