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Manual Handling Instructor (Train the Trainer) Assessor

3 Day Programme for Silentnight


Giving Safety & Training Managers a Silentnight !

The Health & Safety Manager at Silentnight's Wigton factory contracted Osteopathic Solutions in June 2015 to run our 3 Day Manual Handling Instructor (‘Train the Trainer’) Assessor Programme onsite covering job specific manual handling tasks across the factory floor. Manual Handling Expert & Occupational Osteopath Alan Reed ran the course with 6 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.

Learning Outcomes: 

  • Attendees will have a knowledge of the relevant laws relating to Manual Handling including the Health and Safety at Work Act, the Manual Handling Operations Regulations, the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations and the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations

  • Attendees will understand the economic and social impacts of Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs)

  • Attendees will obtain a knowledge and understanding of simple anatomy and biomechanics of the spine, and the musculoskeletal system

  • Attendees will have a comprehensive understanding of unsafe lifting, carrying, lowering, pushing, pulling and team handling practices

  • Attendees will understand the Manual Handling Risk Assessment process and have competency to conduct onsite Manual Handling Risk Assessments and identify practical solutions to lower MSD risk

  • Attendees will be able to critique current Manual Handling Risk Assessment forms and improve if necessary

  • Attendees will have the knowledge and understanding of safer Manual Handling principles and be able to demonstrate practical competency in safer Manual Handling techniques/ practices including lifting and lowering (squat and lunge technique), carrying, pushing, pulling and team handling (including team pushing and pulling)

  • Attendees will have competency in effective teaching of safer Manual Handling techniques and practice in any working environment, constructing and delivering effective in house induction and refresher training courses

Day 1 began with a brief overview of the relevant laws relating to manual handling including employers' and employees' responsibilities within the Manual Handling Operations Regulations. This brief overview was followed by a visually engaging presentation on basic anatomy and function of the spinal muscles, joints, ligaments and discs. Our Manual Handling Expert Alan Reed (pictured to the left) then discussed the common types of musculoskeletal disorders which can occur from natural, hazardous manual handling practices. To receive our Manual Handling Instructor (Train the Trainer) Assessor Course Booklet in PDF format which features easy to understand anatomy and function of the back, shoulders and knees; best practice manual handling techniques and practices etc. please email us for a free copy emailed to your inbox. Please view our Director Gareth Milner describing the Booklet's content on the video on this link.

Once the attendees understood the basic biomechanical mechanism of manual handling injury they looked at 5 principles of ‘BackSafe’ manual handling technique. Armed with this knowledge the attendees watched real life factory footage of commonly performed hazardous lifting, carrying and lowering practices. The attendees then discussed which body areas were under strain and loading, and what musculoskeletal disorders were likely to occur as a result of this.


After lunch and a short presentation on basic hip and knee biomechanics, the attendees watched the video Child's Play manual handling training video (below left).

Alan Reed Manual Handling Expert

Looking at the principles of ‘BackSafe’ manual handling technique and understanding basic spinal and knee biomechanics the attendees were able to decide whether children’s natural lifting and lowering technique was indeed the best possible technique for the musculoskeletal system. 


Free Booking! For a free attendee booking on our Public Manual Handling Instructor (Train the Trainer) Assessor Course call us on 0845 299 3513 with the errors of lifting technique demonstrated by the child in the Child's Play video. Free bookings will only be awarded if all the errors are supplied by email. 

The rest of the afternoon on Day 1 was spent on manual handling practical techniques on the factory floor. Initially, our Manual Handling Expert Alan Reed got the attendees to perform forward bending, backward bending, side bending and twisting so that they could feel areas under strain and loading and link them to commonly performed natural, hazardous manual handling techniques and practices. The group then performed semi and full squat movements to warm up for the squat lifting technique practical. A wide variety of commonly handled loads on the factory floor were used to practice semi-squat, full-squat and lunge lifting and lowering techniques. Please view our Manual Handling Techniques Explained page for our best practice Lifting & Lowering Explainer Videos.


As the attendees were being prepared to provide an in house, bespoke manual handling training programme, they were encouraged to critically analyse eachother using the ‘BackSafe’ principles, so they were confident giving feedback to staff they were soon to train. For example, spotting and explaining the difference in the two lifting techniques shown in the video below left. 

Team Carrying

Firstly, lifting with the back with a forward bend as in the 1st clip to the left and secondly, driving the lift with the legs using a semi-squat as in the 2nd clip to the left.


Day 2 of the Manual Handling Instructor (Train the Trainer) Assessor Programme began with introduction to risk assessment with the MAC tool (Manual Handling Assessment Charts). For a worked example of the MAC tool please view our Manual Handling Operations Regulations page. The group watched and scored a lifting and carrying ​operation that was taken onsite the previous day. After this Osteopathic Solutions' Manual Handling Expert Alan Reed brought together the group for discussion on their answers and how they came to them.

Following the risk assessment group exercise, Alan presented real life videos of common, hazardous pushing and pulling techniques and practices, before returning to the factory floor for best practice, job specific pushing and pulling group practical. The group were now more confident discussing likely musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) that would be caused by techniques such as the one arm pull using bodyweight (shown in the 1st video below) compared to the more 'BackSafe' balanced pulling technique of facing the load then turning onto one arm once the load is moving (shown in the 2nd video below).​


After lunch the REBA Tool (Rapid Entire Body Assessment) was covered, pictured to the left. 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. For a worked example of the REBA tool view our Manual Handling Operations Regulations page.

After the classroom coverage of the 2nd manual handling risk assessment tool, it was back to the factory floor for task specific practical with awkward tasks; for example, the original method of turning a spring mattress with a forward bend (left video below) was modified by applying the taught principles keeping a neutral posture (right video below).

The next stage of the process was to lift and carry the springs to place them onto overhead hooks. The operative applied technique to lift with his legs using a semi-squat technique rather than using the much smaller muscles of his arms and shoulders (which was the usual technique). This isn’t going to make an awkward task low risk for manual handling related injuries, but it will allow the individual to put much less strain on their lower back and shoulders, reducing the risk of strains and sprains, and manual handling lost time accidents.

The rest of Day 2 of the Bespoke Manual Handling Programme was spent looking at factory floor tasks and applying best practice technique to real life examples throughout the factory.​


On Day 3, Alan Reed delivered a presentation on Manual Handling Risk Assessment; followed by Silentnight's manual handling risk assessment forms (supported by the HSE's Manual Handling Risk Assessment Checklists) so that the attendees understood the Task, Individual, Load and Environment manual handling risk factors. For our worked example of the HSE's Manual Handling Risk Assessment Checklists please view our Manual Handling Operations Regulations page.

The group went through the 2 Hour Manual Handling Practical Skills Course structure and delivery, practising the training presentation we supply. In the afternoon the attendees were formally assessed on their technique with our unique Practical (attendee Assessment clip below right) and Written Assessment.

All the attendees successfully passed our Manual Handling Instructor (Train the Trainer) Assessor Programme and were now ready to deliver high quality, practical, on the factory floor, job specific, in house manual handling training.​

Post Course Support. Our free of charge post course support by email or by phone is indefinite i.e. still available for Silentnight's Manual Handling Instructors and Risk Assessors we trained in 2015, who can ask our team any questions regarding their course structure and delivery, practical techniques, answering challenging employee questions etc. 

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