The Manual Handling Operations Regulations were updated in September 2016 with the L23 (4th Edition). To download the updated regulations click the PDF at the bottom of this page.

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992, as amended by the Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2002 set out guidance to help you manage, control and reduce the risk of injury from manual handling.

The Regulations apply to manual handling activities involving the transporting or supporting of loads, including lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving loads. Loads can vary such as boxes, sacks, trolleys and other inanimate objects but also relate to the moving of animals and people.

All sorts of workplaces have manual handling risks, such as factories, warehouses, farms, dairies, building sites, offices, schools/ colleges, hospitals and while making deliveries. The Labour Force Survey estimates that work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) account for around 40% of all work-related ill health. Evidence shows that, as well as manual handling, heavy manual labour, awkward postures and a recent or existing injury are all risk factors in the development of work-related MSDs and manual handling lost time accidents.

You can help to reduce the risk of manual handling injuries by taking the following steps:

  • Comply with the Regulations and guidance

  • Regularly review risk assessments

  • Encourage early reporting of symptoms by workers

  • Effective management of any manual handling injuries

  • Consult and engage the workforce and their representatives


What do I need to do?

  1. Avoid the need for hazardous manual handling, ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’;

  2. Assess the risk of injury from any hazardous manual handling that can’t be avoided;

  3. Reduce the risk of injury from hazardous manual handling, ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’.


  • Do the loads need to be handled or can you work in a different way?

  • Can you automate the process, for example robots, powered conveyors?

  • Can you use mechanical aids to remove the manual element, for example a crane or other lifting equipment, powered pallet trucks/stackers, forklift trucks?


When looking at an operation consider the task, the individual capability, the load and the environment it takes place, together with other factors including psychosocial factors and the relationship between them.

The Regulations contain useful risk assessment filters in the Appendix which help you decide the right level of detail needed as part of the risk assessment process. You can then use recognised tools from the HSE’s MSD Toolkit, such as the MAC Tool (Manual Handling Assessment Charts) to assess lifting, carrying and team handling, the RAPP Tool (Risk Assessment Pushing and Pulling) to assess pushing and pulling operations, or the ART Tool (Assessment of Repetitive Tasks of the Upper Limbs) for tasks that require repetitive movement of the arms and hands. If these tools are not detailed enough or you are in any doubt you should complete a full risk assessment. Figure 19 (above right) from the Regulations summarises the process.


After evaluating the risks:

  • You must decide whether the existing precautions are adequate or whether more should be done

  • Record your findings and tell your employees about them

  • Reviewing your assessment and revise it if necessary


At Osteopathic Solutions, our City & Guilds accredited Manual Handling Instructor (Train the Trainer) Assessor Programmes will equip you with the skills and knowledge to understand the Manual Handling Risk Assessment process, have competency to conduct onsite Manual Handling Risk Assessments and identify practical solutions to lower MSD risk. Attendees will also be taught safer manual handling techniques and be able to design job specific, bespoke manual handling training for your workers. This combined approach will significantly reduce manual handling lost time accidents and workplace MSDs.

HSE Manual Handling Risk Assessment Tools & Checklists

MAC Tool - Lifting, Carrying & Team Handling Risk Assessment

Example Assessment of the below video available shortly

The MAC tool is designed to help understand, interpret and categorize the level of risk of the various known risk factors associated with lifting, carrying and team handling activities, and check the effectiveness of any risk reduction measures. It incorporates a numerical and a colour-coding score system to highlight high risk manual handling tasks. It is appropriate for assessing loads above 8kg.

Risk Assessment of pushing and pulling (RAPP) tool
  • This tool will help you identify high-risk pushing and pulling operations and check the effectiveness of any risk-reduction measures.

  • There are two types of pulling and pushing operations you can assess using this tool:

    • moving loads on wheeled equipment, such as hand trolleys, pump trucks, carts or wheelbarrows;

    • moving loads without wheels, which might involve actions such as dragging/sliding, churning (pivoting and rolling) and rolling.

  • For each type of assessment there is a flow chart, an assessment guide and a score sheet. The flow charts provide an overview of the risk factors and assessment process, while the assessment guides provide information to help you determine the level of risk for each factor.

RAPP Tool Assessment 1 - Pushing load on wheeled equipment

RAPP Tool Assessment 2 - Pushing load without wheels

Example Assessment of the below video available shortly

The ART tool is designed to help you risk assess tasks that require repetitive moving of the upper limbs (arms and hands), and check the effectiveness of any risk reduction measures. It assists you in assessing some of the common risk factors in repetitive work that contribute to the development of Upper Limb Disorders (ULDs).

Example Assessment of the below video available shortly

This ergonomic assessment tool uses a systematic process to evaluate whole body MSD risks associated with job tasks. A single page score sheet is used to evaluate body posture, forceful exertions, type of movement or action, repetition, and coupling. Using the REBA score sheet, the assessor will assign a score for each of the following body regions: wrists, forearms, elbows, shoulders, neck, trunk, back, legs and knees. After the data for each region is collected and scored, tables on the form are then used to compile the risk factor variables, generating a single score that represents the level of MSD risk.

Using the checklists for lifting and carrying and for pushing and pulling will help to highlight the overall level of risk involved and identify how the job may be modified to reduce the risk of injury and make it easier to do. Work through the three sections of the appropriate checklist:

Section A – Preliminary
Describe the task you are assessing. You may also find it helpful to include diagrams or photographs to illustrate the tasks.

Section B – More detailed assessment 

Work through the list of factors and tick the level of risk you believe to be associated

with each of the items. Note down the precise nature of the problem and include suggestions about the remedial action that may be taken. It may also help to write down the names of those you need to consult about implementing the remedial steps. Some tasks may involve more than one operator, each with a different level of risk, depending on what they do. Either note the differences on one checklist or use a separate one for each operator. Return to the end of Section A and decided whether the overall risk of injury is Low, Medium or High. This will help prioritise remedial action if you have a large number of risk assessments to carry out. Ring the appropriate word at the bottom of Section A after you have completed Section B. 

Section C – Remedial action to be taken 
Summarise the remedial steps that should be taken, in order of priority. Record the assessor’s name, the name of the person responsible for carrying out any remedial action and the date which it should be completed. Only complete the final column once this action has been taken. It may also be useful to enter the target date for reassessment if appropriate. When all the manual handling tasks have been assessed, the completed checklists can be compared to help prioritise the most urgent actions. However, there are likely to be several ways to reduce the risks identified and some will be more effective than others. Do not delay action on those that can be implemented easily and quickly simply because they may be less effective than others. Check at a later date to make sure that the remedial action to remove or reduce the risk of injury has been effective. The checklists will help bring out a range of ideas on how the risks identified can be avoided or reduced by making modifications to the load, the task and the working
environment. Remember a solution should primarily be sought to completely remove the handling risk where possible. The steps taken to reduce the risk of MSDs should be appropriate and address the problem in a realistic, practical and effective way. After implementing any changes that reduce the level of risk, returning to the task at a later date and completing another assessment will help to see if your solution has been successful in reducing MSD risk. Discuss the changes with the handlers, or regularly check accident and ill health data and their causes. If the changes do not have the desired result, reassess the situation. The assessment should be kept up to date and reviewed if new information. comes to light or if there has been a significant change in the manual handling operations. It should also be reviewed if, for example, there is an accident/ incident or a case of ill health as a result of manual handling operations.

Lifting & Carrying Manual Handling Checklist Assessment
Example Assessment of the below video available shortly
Pushing Manual Handling Checklist Assessment
Example Assessment of the below video available shortly
Pulling Manual Handling Checklist Assessment
Example Assessment of the below video available shortly

Manual Handling Operations Regulations PDF Download

Need to refresh on the HSE's Health & Safety Laws and Guidance regarding Manual Handling Operations? Download by clicking on the PDF to the right above. If you don't have time to update with this document, then simply read through this page's summary above. Please be mindful that guidance on manual handling techniques and safer handling practices is limited in this publication.


Looking for Continual Professional Development regarding teaching safer, job specific manual handling practices in your working environment? Want to reduce your manual handling related injuries? Then click on the Manual Handling Instructor 'Read more' tab below. Our City & Guilds Certificate takes only 2 Days of Course attendance to achieve.

Dolav at Pukka Pies
Manual Handling Train the Trainer
Osteopathic Solutions Ltd

T:  0845 299 3513


Company Registration Number: 07743200

VAT Registration Number: 139 388572

CPD Certification Service Member Number: 12602

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