Bespoke Manual Handling Training 

 for Sutton Valence School, Kent 

Sutton Valence School
Sutton Valence School

Ensuring Sutton Valence School's compliance with Health & Safety Legislation including the Manual Handling Operations Regulations, Sutton Valence's Estates Bursar contracted Osteopathic Solutions to provide 2 x 3 Hour Manual Handling Practical Skills Courses in April 2014 for their domestic, estates, building and grounds maintenance staff.


Please view a testimonial from Sutton Valence's Estates Bursar at the bottom of this page.

The April 2014 onsite, bespoke training was delivered by our Director & Manual Handling Expert Gareth Milner. The 3 Hour Manual Handling Practical Skills Courses started with a short visually engaging powerpoint featuring images of basic spinal anatomy and spinal disc injuries. As a qualified Osteopath, Gareth informed the attendees of the symptoms of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and their effects on quality of life. This always immediately engages attendees as there are always some who are suffering from current manual handling related injuries. Real life videos of lifting, carrying, lowering, pushing and pulling loads with natural, hazardous postures and practices were shown to inform the attendees how manual handling accidents are caused.


The client tailored manual handing practical kicked off in the music department hall with the best practice principles of semi-squat lifting and lowering (shown in the image above) and full-squat lifting and lowering (shown in the image below). 

Sutton Valence School

In the above images Gareth Milner is demonstrating a semi-squat lift and a full-squat lift with a small but heavy speaker box. The semi-squat is the technique of choice for this load due to the handle on its top aspect. Each attendee then performed the squat lifting practical, with 1-2-1 technique support by Gareth. For those with knee injuries, the semi-squat lift was only performed. 


Want to know how to safely lift and lower loads? Please watch our short Explainer Video on best practice lifting and lowering on our Manual Handling Techniques Explained page, featuring Gareth demonstating squat lifting and lowering in a food factory. To receive our Manual Handling Instructor (Train the Trainer) Assessor Course Booklet in PDF format which also features lifting techniques and practices to avoid, please email Gareth for free copy emailed to your inbox. For information, costs and dates for our Public Manual Handing Instructor (Train the Trainer) Assessor Courses (in Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow, Edinburgh and the South East) accredited with City & Guilds click the Read more tab at the bottom on this page.


Our Bespoke Manual Handling Programme for Sutton Valence School continued with the group team lifting, carrying and lowering a wooden bench. This is a load that is commonly lifted, carried and lowered by a single person. Due to the width and weight of the load this enforces a forward bend of the spine when lifting and hazardous use of the lower back muscles, increasing the risk of a manual handling related injury. The estates team were encouraged to perform more best practice team handling of loads, although Gareth was realistic and recognised that this was not always possible. 


To aid manual handling behavioural change, Osteopathic Solutions team commonly request that 'unsafe' manual handling practice is performed immediately before or after 'BackSafe' manual handling technique and practice (we avoid attendees who are suffering from musculoskeletal disorders performing this 'unsafe'/ 'BackSafe' comparison and always keep the loads of moderate weight). Attendees can immediately feel that there is less strain on their body with best practice manual handling practice. We find our unique teaching approach aids attendee learning, supporting significant reductions in manual handling lost time accidents in School and all industry environments. In the images below, natural manual handling practice for team carrying with both men walking forwards (which causes a hazardous side bend and twist of the back) is compared with one person walking forwards and one person walking backwards, a more 'BackSafe' practice.

Sutton Valence School

As our onsite Manual Handling Courses are realistic and job specific, the grand piano was then used for the pushing practical. At Sutton Valence School it is commonly pushed by a single person which enforces a forward bend of the spine and use of bodyweight (as shown in the image to the right), which increases the risks of workforce neck and shoulder manual handling related injury. There is also strain on the right calf muscle and achilles tendon, the left knee and significant compressive mechanical strain on the neck (cervical) discs. Are you a Manual Handling Instructor and Risk Assessor? If so, then view our RAPP tool worked examples on our our Manual Handling Operations Regulations page.

To continue the theme of team manual handling, 2 person pushing was practised with the grand piano. Using a team leader saying 'Ready, Steady, Push', this aided safer posture whilst pushing. This is shown in the video clip to the left which demonstrates Osteopathic Solutions' specialist knowledge of body position and technique application. Even with 2 people, a forward bend of the spine was not possible to avoid with such a heavy load on small wheels. The Estates Bursar was informed after the training that the task should always be a 2 person push.

Have you assessed ALL your School employees' manual handling tasks? If not, and you are short of time please view our Manual Handling Risk & Ergonomic Assessment Consultancy.

The task specific practical moved to the building maintenance department where tasks with environmental space constraints, and tasks involving lifting/ lowering loads at chest and head height were discussed. Gareth then demonstated the lunge lift with a fire extinguisher, with the attendees then individually practising this. Click on our Manual Handling Techniques Explained page to watch Gareth demonstrate this alternative lifting and lowering technique in a food factory.

Sutton Valence School

To complete the job specific practical, pulling of loads was covered with a variety of loads including a wheelie bin, a pallet truck and a large barbecue on wheels. As their bodies were conditioned to heavy loads, the grounds maintenance team* were the only attendees to practice pulling the heavy palletised load. To reduce the backward bend and subsequent strain on the spine as shown in the images below, each grounds team attendee is positioning one foot in front of the other with a bend through the hips and knees keeping the elbows bent and level with the trunk, driving powerfully through the thigh muscles to move the load. This is essential practice on what was a very heavy manual handling task. An electric pallet mover was recommended to the Estates Bursar to reduce the risk of manual handling accidents.

*Do you work for a Council Grounds Maintenance Team? If so, read our Case Study of our Bespoke Manual Handling Training Programme for Essex County Council's Parks & Open Spaces employees on this link.

After each 3 Hour 'Best Practice' Manual Handling Practical Skills Course (for the Course Outline and Learning Outcomes click on the PDF below) had finished, some of the attendees asked Gareth for some stretching exercises to relieve neck stiffness and pain. In the image shown below, Gareth (who qualified as an Osteopath from the nearby European School of Osteopathy in Maidstone, Kent in 2014) is demonstrating a left side bend stretch of the neck targeting the right sided trapezius muscle. As Osteopathic Solutions' UK Team are qualified Osteopaths they can enhance the task specific manual handling training with expert rehabilitation advice, aiding employee health and wellbeing. 

Osteopathic Solutions provide a complete programme for workplace musculoskeletal disorder risk management. Our Occupational Osteopaths specialise in Manual Handling Injury Assessment. For more information click on the Read more tab below.

The Testimonial from Sutton Valence's Estates Bursar

Sutton Valence School

Client Testimonial

Sutton Valence School

Osteopathic Solutions have provided excellent manual handling training. We have now had 3 days of training* and each have been delivered by extremely professional trainers and the courses have been set up for the needs of our staff. Working in a large school there are many different departments whose staff need training and the trainers made sure they visited the areas our staff work in. So many courses just provide a DVD, which is forgotten about immediately. Having practical help has made a big difference annd everyone came away from the course saying they had really benefited from the training. 

Julie Vicary, Estates Bursar

*This page was updated in 2018 where Osteopathic Solutions still continue to be Julie Vicary's and Sutton Valence School's provider of choice for Bespoke, onsite Manual Handling training. Our South East based Manual Handling Expert and Occupational Osteopath Rishi Patel is now our regular trainer for Sutton Valence continuing our high quality provision since 2014. 

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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