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Manual Handling

Your guide to manual handling injuries

Your Legal Friend client Mr Dowse

They acted in a sympathetic and professional manner and resolved my case very efficiently.

Mr Dowse
Leeds

Making a manual handling claim

Picking up a box or carrying a load may be part of your daily routine at work. You may be asked to carry out a task that could mean lifting and moving awkward goods or objects. The way in which you lift even a relatively light load can result in unexpectedly pulling a muscle or putting your back out.

Manual handling injuries can occur anywhere people are at work – on building sites, farms, in factories, offices, warehouses, laboratories, banks, hospitals or while making deliveries and there is always a potential risk of causing yourself harm and injury while lifting, supporting or carrying a load. The Health and Safety Statistics Annual Report 2013/14 shows that 24% of the most common, non-fatal injuries reported to employers are caused by handling, lifting or carrying.

Straining a muscle or injuring your back at work may be caused not by an accident but by a lack of training in how to lift, carry and set down a load correctly. The way you lift, carry or support a load can result in pulling a muscle or putting your back out.

Manual handling causes over a third of all workplace injuries, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), including all types of strains, sprains and muscle injuries to arms, legs, hands and feet. ‘Manual handling’ covers not just lifting and carrying but also lowering, pushing and pulling.

If any of these tasks is not carried out in the right way, you risk an injury that could need hospital treatment, physiotherapy, and time off work for weeks. In some cases, there can be long term pain, which can affect your ability to work in the same occupation or even to work at all.

The risk of a manual handling injury is not limited to building sites, warehouses or factories. You can just as easily strain a muscle or trap a nerve by carrying out a simple, routine lifting task if you work in an office, a shop or just about every type of working environment.

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Our expert team will call you...

Alison Saul, Director of Personal Injury leads our Personal Injury and Road Accident teams. A fully qualified solicitor with over 15 years of experience and expertise, Alison is dedicated to achieving the highest levels of compensation for her clients as well as ensuring high quality client care.

Our work accident claims expert team.

Alison is assisted by her team managers, Philip Waters Lee Quinn, Jenna Hargreaves, and Kathryn Langton. Philip, Lee, and Jenna lead legal teams focussing on Road Traffic Accident cases while Kathyrn leads our Personal Injury team. Together they have a wealth of experience in personal injury compensation.

Philip, a qualified solicitor, has over 18 years’ experience in personal injury compensation. Having previously worked for a large insurance company, he has extensive insights in how to engage effectively with insurers to achieve the level of compensation our clients deserve. Philip deals with cases of high value, complex cases, and recently secured £1.6 million in compensation for one of his clients who suffered catastrophic injuries in a road accident.

Lee has over 15 years’ specialist experience in Personal Injury claims and also manages a wide variety of high value, complex cases. Lee has extensive experience of working with insurance companies, acting for both claimants and defendants, and so understands how to secure the highest levels of compensation for the victims of road traffic accidents.

Jenna is a qualified solicitor and has studied to become a barrister. Jenna leads the internal reviews of our case management processes to ensure excellent, efficient case handling and high levels of client satisfaction.

Kathryn, also a qualified solicitor, specialises in accidents at work, public liability and accidents abroad. Kathryn deals with a wide variety of cases, often including accidents that involve serious, complex injuries.

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When would you like us to call?

There are many people injured in accidents each year through no fault of their own and the circumstances will be different in each instance. Our team has extensive experience of successfully managing a wide range of personal injury claims, so we can help you secure the maximum compensation you deserve.

Alison Saul

Director of Personal Injury

What our customers say

Mrs. Vora's portrait

“I found the staff to be friendly, helpful, courteous and they kept me well informed on a regular basis”

Mrs. Vora,
Loughborough

A photo of Mr Dowse

“They acted in a sympathetic and professional manner and resolved my case very efficiently”

Mr Dowse
Leeds

  For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today 0151 550 5228

10 simple steps to claim

Step
1
Obtaining a full description of your accident
Step
2
Obtaining your medical records
Step
3
Contacting the company responsible for your accident
Step
4
Arranging your medical assessment
Step
5
Collating details of your financial loss
Step
86
Negotiating the maximum settlement possibleProviding you with our valuation of your losses
Step
7
Sending your valuation to the other party's insurer
Step
68
Providing you with our valuation of your lossesNegotiating the maximum settlement possible
Step
9
Issuing Court proceedings
Step
10
Sending you your compensation payment

Your questions... answered

What are your employer’s responsibilities?

Your employer has a legal responsibility to protect you from the risk of an injury caused by manual handling. Under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (amended 2002), employers are required to:

  • Avoid the need for hazardous manual handling, so far as is reasonably practicable
  • Assess the risk of injury from any hazardous manual handling, which cannot be avoided
  • Reduce the risk of injuryfrom hazardous manual handling, so far as is reasonably practicable

An employer can be considered to have breached their “duty of care” owed to you as an employee if they “failed to do everything that was reasonable in the circumstances to keep you safe from harm.”

If you do suffer an injury caused by a manual handling accident, you may need intensive hospital treatment followed by weeks of physiotherapy. In some cases, you can be left with persistent back or other problems and be no longer able to fully return to work. Further difficulties can arise from the loss of earnings and subsequent pension rights.

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Is there a correct lifting technique?

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidelines state that there is no single correct way to lift. The technique for lifting will depend on various factors including the weight and size of the item. Instructions and training in good handling technique should be appropriate to the particular task, situation or individual circumstances under which the manual handling takes place.

What are the types of manual handling?

Manual handling usually consists of:

  • Lifting
  • Carrying
  • Lowering
  • Pushing
  • Pulling
  • Supporting
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Should your employer carry out a risk assessment for manual handling?

Manual handling jobs are usually categorised as:

  • Low risk
  • Medium risk
  • High risk

An assessment guide for evaluating the category of risk will depend on:

  • Weight of the load and the repetition rate of the lifting operation
  • Horizontal distance between the hands and the lower back
  • Position of the operative’s hands at the start of the lift and as the lift progresses
  • Torso twisting and sideways bending
  • If the movements of operator’s movements are unhindered
  • Grip on the load
  • Floor surface
  • Other environmental factors

An employer is responsible for your health and safety in the workplace and must:

  • Carry out a risk assessment and inform you of any risks involved in the task
  • Provide proper training
  • Provide adequate manpower and organise the work appropriately
  • Provide suitable lifting equipment if needed

If you have to do any manual handling at work, which cannot be avoided, by law, your employer has to take all reasonable steps to reduce the risk to the lowest practicable level. Some workers may have particular requirements, such as new and young workers, new or expectant mothers, and people with disabilities, migrant workers, temporary workers, and home or lone workers. 

Read less

What are your employer’s responsibilities to provide manual handling training?

A vital part of an employer’s duty of care to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries in all manual handling activities is the provision of specific training. Information and instructions should cover:

  • Manual handling risk factors and how injuries can occur
  • How to carry out safe manual handling, including good handling technique
  • Appropriate systems of work for the individual’s tasks and environment
  • Use of mechanical aids – such as hoists and hydraulic lifts
  • Practical work to allow the trainer to identify and put right anything the trainee is not doing safely

Training to carry out manual handling tasks should also identify:

  • Unsuitable loads
  • Poor working conditions

What is manual handling?

A manual handling task is any activity that requires you to lift, carry or support a load in work. An employer has to risk assess any manual handling task and reduce the risk of injury to the lowest practical level.

This might mean that, if a manual handling task can’t be avoided, then a risk assessment should be carried out in respect of that task and steps put in place to reduce the risk of injury.

This might mean providing you with a trolley to move a load from one place to another, or making the job a two man job as opposed to you carrying out that task alone.

What type of job might require this kind of work?

Manual handling tasks occur in just about every conceivable work place.  Your employer has a duty to risk access it and to keep you safe from harm at work.

What sort of injuries usually occur?

Manual handling tasks typically cause back injuries, particularly if the work is excessive or repetitive. Hernias are also common, as are strains and sprains, but also if you’re carrying loads and you drop them because of an unsafe work practice, then injuries to your feet and crushed toes can also occur. 

Can I make a claim?

You can make a claim for compensation if you have been carrying out a manual handling task at work and have been injured as a result. If your employer has failed to risk assess that task or failed to put in place preventative measures to guard against the risk of injury, then it is likely that they have been negligent or breached a duty in respect of your health and welfare.

If you can prove that your employer was negligent, then you will also need to prove that your injury was caused as a result of that negligence. 

Please make sure you report the accident in the Accident Book, and you should always see medical attention from your GP or from hospital. 

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Do time limits apply?

Any claimant has 3 years in which to bring a claim, from the date of accident and injury. You should seek a specialist legal opinion so that we can advise you about all the evidence that we need to help win and prove your claim.

Will it cost me anything to make a claim?

Here at Your Legal Friend we advise you on a No Win, No Fee basis.  Our initial consultation is free in any event and we’ll always advice of our funding terms and conditions at the outset so that we can be certain that you’ll have no surprises.

Your employer has a legal responsibility to protect you from the risk of an injury caused by manual handling. Under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (amended 2002), employers are required to:

  • Avoid the need for hazardous manual handling, so far as is reasonably practicable
  • Assess the risk of injury from any hazardous manual handling, which cannot be avoided
  • Reduce the risk of injuryfrom hazardous manual handling, so far as is reasonably practicable

An employer can be considered to have breached their “duty of care” owed to you as an employee if they “failed to do everything that was reasonable in the circumstances to keep you safe from harm.”

If you do suffer an injury caused by a manual handling accident, you may need intensive hospital treatment followed by weeks of physiotherapy. In some cases, you can be left with persistent back or other problems and be no longer able to fully return to work. Further difficulties can arise from the loss of earnings and subsequent pension rights.

Read less

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidelines state that there is no single correct way to lift. The technique for lifting will depend on various factors including the weight and size of the item. Instructions and training in good handling technique should be appropriate to the particular task, situation or individual circumstances under which the manual handling takes place.

What are the types of manual handling?

Manual handling usually consists of:

  • Lifting
  • Carrying
  • Lowering
  • Pushing
  • Pulling
  • Supporting
Read less

Manual handling jobs are usually categorised as:

  • Low risk
  • Medium risk
  • High risk

An assessment guide for evaluating the category of risk will depend on:

  • Weight of the load and the repetition rate of the lifting operation
  • Horizontal distance between the hands and the lower back
  • Position of the operative’s hands at the start of the lift and as the lift progresses
  • Torso twisting and sideways bending
  • If the movements of operator’s movements are unhindered
  • Grip on the load
  • Floor surface
  • Other environmental factors

An employer is responsible for your health and safety in the workplace and must:

  • Carry out a risk assessment and inform you of any risks involved in the task
  • Provide proper training
  • Provide adequate manpower and organise the work appropriately
  • Provide suitable lifting equipment if needed

If you have to do any manual handling at work, which cannot be avoided, by law, your employer has to take all reasonable steps to reduce the risk to the lowest practicable level. Some workers may have particular requirements, such as new and young workers, new or expectant mothers, and people with disabilities, migrant workers, temporary workers, and home or lone workers. 

Read less

A vital part of an employer’s duty of care to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries in all manual handling activities is the provision of specific training. Information and instructions should cover:

  • Manual handling risk factors and how injuries can occur
  • How to carry out safe manual handling, including good handling technique
  • Appropriate systems of work for the individual’s tasks and environment
  • Use of mechanical aids – such as hoists and hydraulic lifts
  • Practical work to allow the trainer to identify and put right anything the trainee is not doing safely

Training to carry out manual handling tasks should also identify:

  • Unsuitable loads
  • Poor working conditions

A manual handling task is any activity that requires you to lift, carry or support a load in work. An employer has to risk assess any manual handling task and reduce the risk of injury to the lowest practical level.

This might mean that, if a manual handling task can’t be avoided, then a risk assessment should be carried out in respect of that task and steps put in place to reduce the risk of injury.

This might mean providing you with a trolley to move a load from one place to another, or making the job a two man job as opposed to you carrying out that task alone.

Manual handling tasks occur in just about every conceivable work place.  Your employer has a duty to risk access it and to keep you safe from harm at work.

Manual handling tasks typically cause back injuries, particularly if the work is excessive or repetitive. Hernias are also common, as are strains and sprains, but also if you’re carrying loads and you drop them because of an unsafe work practice, then injuries to your feet and crushed toes can also occur. 

You can make a claim for compensation if you have been carrying out a manual handling task at work and have been injured as a result. If your employer has failed to risk assess that task or failed to put in place preventative measures to guard against the risk of injury, then it is likely that they have been negligent or breached a duty in respect of your health and welfare.

If you can prove that your employer was negligent, then you will also need to prove that your injury was caused as a result of that negligence. 

Please make sure you report the accident in the Accident Book, and you should always see medical attention from your GP or from hospital. 

Read less

Any claimant has 3 years in which to bring a claim, from the date of accident and injury. You should seek a specialist legal opinion so that we can advise you about all the evidence that we need to help win and prove your claim.

Here at Your Legal Friend we advise you on a No Win, No Fee basis.  Our initial consultation is free in any event and we’ll always advice of our funding terms and conditions at the outset so that we can be certain that you’ll have no surprises.