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Download our Course Outline by clicking the PDF above.

This 2 Day Manual Handling Instructor (Train the Trainer) Assessor Course was ran by our Director Gareth Milner in May 2018 at the Harlequin Centre in Redhill, Surrey with our London based Manual Handling Expert & Registered Osteopath Rishi Patel observing (pictured with Gareth in the photo gallery to the left). As with all our Public Course venues across the UK, we chose the Harlequin Centre as they were able to provide a range of inanimate loads so that our 2 Day Course is run the way we run all of our courses, with practical being the predominant content.


The following are the key learning outcomes of our 2 Day Course:

  • Attendees will understand the Manual Handling Risk Assessment process & have competency to conduct onsite Risk Assessments & identify practical solutions to lower the risk of musculoskeletal disorders
  • Attendees will have competency in effective teaching of safer Manual Handling techniques & practice in any working environment, constructing & delivering effective in house induction & refresher training courses

The May 2018 Redhill 2 Day Course had 5 attendees. 2 attendees from the Health & Safety Team at Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue, and 3 attendees from Maidstone Borough Council's Environmental Services departments.

After the Instructor and attendee introductions, Day 1 commenced with a short, visually engaging powerpoint presentation featuring relevant laws to manual handling risk management, basic spinal anatomy and biomechanics. Throughout this part of the Course our Manual Handling Expert Gareth referred to the Course Booklet (shown in the right photo), pointing out the key facts for the attendees that they needed to know.

Manual Handling Risk Assessment

After the powerpoint presentation, a number of real life videos were shown to the attendees of hazardous (but natural) manual handling practices including forward bending to lift and lower loads, and carrying with 1 arm. These videos always bring the Course to life, engaging the attendees into the Course. In the photo (above right) Gareth is talking in a simple way about the biomechanical effects carrying with 1 arm has on the musculoskeletal system. The video is shown to the left. The food production employee is carrying a heavy food product box around 20 metres to the production area from the storage racking. The load is held with the left arm only, supported on his side.

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When you play the video (above left) you will see the right side bend of his spine with the elevation of the left shoulder blade. Although not easy to see, his neck is side bent to the left in order to bring his vision more level. This is an extremely hazardous way of carrying for the musculoskeletal system, increasing the likelihood for chronic musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) including neck (cervical) and lower back (lumbar) disc herniation and prolapse. Our specialist Courses prepare attendees to use real life videos of their employees performing hazardous manual handling practices filmed in their settings. When using videos in the classroom (as covered by Gareth during this video), you must mention the following:

  • The spinal movements performed. Side bending to the right from the lower back to the mid back, & left side bending from the mid back to the neck

  • What areas of the body are under mechanical strain. Neck, lower back & left upper extremity (arm)

  • What MSDs could happen. Neck and lower back disc herniation; shoulder muscle tears & tendonitis; tennis & golfer's elbow

  • What the employer could do after assessment to reduce manual handling risks. Provide a sack barrow or other suitable wheeled equipment

  • What ‘BackSafe’ technique and practice is (if possible!). Carry the load with both arms, holding the load close in front of the lower chest, but preferably push using a sack barrow

In the photo to the right Gareth is reenacting the spinal and shoulder positions. So that the attendees can understand the hazardous postures, body use and upper limb positions we ask the attendees to stand from their chairs and reenact like Gareth is doing, so that they can fully comprehend what these postures and hazardous biomechanics are doing to our musculoskeletal system.

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Manual Handling Risk Assessment

After lunch on Day 1 the practical started with postural awareness and the squat warm up. As shown below, postures performed were forward bending*, forward bending and twisting* (*like when lifting or lowering a load with natural practice), and backward bending (like when pulling a load, facing it, with natural practice). Other movements included side bending, and twisting with the spine erect/ upright. To warm up the leg muscles and for the attendees to appreciate the squat movement, 5 x semi-squats and 5 x full-squats were performed by Gareth and the attendees.

Postural Awareness Forward Bending
Forward Bending
Postural Awareness Forward Bending & Twisting
Forward Bending & Twisting
Postural Awareness Backward Bending
Backward Bending

Gareth then moved onto squat lifting and lowering using a variety of loads including crates, heavy boxes, fluid drums and fire extinguishers. With each of these loads Gareth demonstrated safer technique and practice, including the individual's pre lift task, individual, load and environment (TILE) 'mini' risk assessment (Gareth giving this commentary on the photo below right). After demonstrations by Gareth, each attendee performed the semi-squat and full-squat lifting and lowering with the loads mentioned above, with Gareth and the rest of the attendees providing constructive feedback on technique and practice application. 

In the photo gallery above right (5th and 6th photos) is our London based Manual Handling Expert and Registered Osteopath Rishi Patel performing a full-squat lift. See the position of his feet being slightly wider than shoulder width apart and level (i.e. one foot not in front of the other as commonly incorrectly taught by manual handling training providers who do not have an expert biomechanics knowledge), with the hips just above the knees in a powerful and biomechanically sound full-squat lift.

To finish Day 1 Gareth covered the MAC tool, with the use of a real life video in a packaging factory of an employee lifting a bulky, heavy load on his own and then carrying up steps (Video above left). The team handling section was not covered as it does not offer much more learning than the lifting section, although the differences were mentioned. The attendees paired up on this group exercise working through the score sheet together for the lift, and the carry with Gareth then going through the assessment with the group as a whole, encouraging a group discussion. Please refer to our comments on the use of Risk Assessment tools shortly in this case study.

Manual Handing Assessment Chart
Risk Assessment of Pushing & Pulling

Gareth then went through the Manual Handling Equipment (MHE) section of the Course booklet whilst discussing common solutions to lower manual handling risks. In preparation for the pushing and pulling practical, Gareth then presented a number of hazardous pushing and pulling videos including many from Councils, for particular reference for the attendees from Maidstone Council's Environmental Services departments. One of the videos is shown to the right with the specifics discussed by Gareth below.

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The below is an assessment of the middle video above of the Wheelie Bin pulling:

  • The spinal movements performed. Forward bending of the spine especially through the upper back & neck. On the initiation of the pull of the 2 bins the employee also has his neck held in a left twist (rotation)

  • What areas of the body are under mechanical strain. Neck, shoulders, lower back, forearms & wrists

  • What MSDs could happen. Neck & lower back disc herniation; shoulder muscle tears & tendonitis; tennis & golfer's elbow; wrist tendonitis

  • What the employer could do after assessment to reduce manual handling risks. Difficult due to the 'task & finish' culture. Task specific manual handling training will help, educating employees on not only safer techniques & practices, but also on the effects to the musculoskeletal system that hazardous practices like this cause. Removal of 'task & finish' will help over the longer term

  • What ‘BackSafe’ technique and practice is (if possible!). Assess the load weight, then lower 1 wheelie bin at a time down the curb (standing on the pavement) then push to the vehicle

Then out of the classroom for pushing and pulling practical. One of the reasons we chose the Harlequin Centre as a venue for our Public 2 Day Manual Handling Instructor Assessor Course was that we could use other areas of the site including the theatre stage and the outside mezzanine floor in the goods in area. Over the next 90 minutes, the group practised pushing and pulling of a sack barrow, a heavy supermarket trolley and a small wheeled bin* (on the theatre stage) and cages (on the outside mezzanine floor). As ever during the practical our trainer Gareth demonstrated the push/ pull of the load followed by each attendee comparing natural (unsafe) technique to safer technique (with group constructive feedback). *In the middle left photo of Gareth with the small wheeled bin, Gareth discussed with the group the postural issues when pushing and pulling loads when the grip on the load is not ideal i.e. below elbow height and with no specific handle.

Best practice pulling
Best practice pulling
Awkward Pushing tasks
Best Practice Pushing
Best Practice Pushing practical
Best Practice Pushing practical

Before lunch there was time to revisit the lunge lift and lower, and team lifting, carrying and lowering. To view our videos of lunge lifting please click this link. In the below video, 2 attendees are practising a team lift and lower. Which attendee performs a better squat lift and lower? LinkedIn connect with Gareth Milner and message him your thoughts.

During the team lifting, carrying and lowering practical there was a discussion with the Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue attendees regarding their 2 and 4 person team handling tasks.

After lunch the following was covered over 30 minutes:


  • Effective Teaching Skills

  • Preparation for Teaching Practice

  • 2 Hour Course Development – Content/ Delivery/ Organisation

  • Initial Workforce Training, Refresher Training

As we are accredited with The CPD Certification Service we take course attendee assessment seriously. The assessment has 2 component, the 20 minute per attendee Practical Assessment and the 45-60 minute Written Assessment. We film the Practical Assessment and mark it after the course has completed. The following are clips from 2 of the attendees' Practical Assessments. Below each clip is a PDF with our scoring of their practical demonstration.

All attendees passed the 2 Day Course with an average score of 196/247, Grade B. As we provide free and indefinite post course support each attendee can contact us regarding any questions they have about manual handling technique and practice, handling difficult attendee questions etc.

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