The application of human effort
directly, or indirectly, to transport or
support a load
Manual Handling Operations
Regulations 1992 – amended 2002
Lifting, lowering, pulling or pushing
Inanimate loads – box or trolley
Animate – animal or person
Manual Handling Hazards
Lifting a load that is too heavy or cumbersome-
Failing to use a proper lifting/moving technique-
back injuries (Twisting, Stooping, Reaching)
Failing to grip the load in safe manner-feet
Not wearing correct PPE-hand injuries
Areas of the Body Injured by
Rest Of Torso 7%
Why Are Back Problems
Two Key Reasons:
1. Our physical condition
2. Increased Medical Management
Back problems are seldom
caused by a single injury
The Final Straw !
5 Generic Reasons for Back
Lifting and handling incorrectly
Can stem from a poor level of physical
20 30 32 35 40 50 57 60
Age in Years
Back Problems Peak Between
the Ages of Thirty and Fifty
How Does My Back Work?
• 3 Natural curves
• 33 Vertebrae forming a flexible
• Cervical = 7
• Thoracic = 12
• Lumbar = 5
• Sacrum = 5
• Coccyx = 4
• Ligaments – Hold the bones together and
add stability of the spine.
• Spinal Cord – Passes down through the
middle of the spinal canal. It is therefore
protected by the vertebrae.
• Spinal Nerves – Branch off at each level
of the vertebral column and carry nerve
impulses (sensory & motor).
• Intervertebral Disc – Separate the bones
and act as a shock absorbers. They allow
A slipped disc/prolapsed disc
occurs when the annulus gradually
crack open allowing part or all the
nucleus to prolapsed or seep out at
the back of the disc close to the
spinal nerves of the spinal cord are.
This puts pressure on the nerves
causing severe pain
This is caused by adopting poor
posture e.g. Bending, stretching
twisting and overreaching
More commonly known as
a “trapped nerve”
Sciatic nerve is largest
nerve in body consisting
of 5 nerve roots.
Sciatic Nerve most likely
to be trapped as it leaves
the vertebrae as it passes
to the pelvis
Could be any of the 5
vertebrae of the
• Caused by a damaged disc
pressing on nerve root in lower
• Pain in rear or leg, worse when
• Burning/tingling down the leg
•Shooting pain that makes it
difficult to stand up
• Constant pain on one side of the
Other Reasons for Back Pain
Risk Factors for Yourselves
In a rush to do a task
Awkward / critical lifting
Inactivity - sitting
and …… YOUR LIFESTYLE
Does the object need to be moved?
Can the process be automated?
Consider mechanisation / handling aids.
Electric or powered hoist
Does the task involve?
Holding loads away from the body
Twisting, stooping or reaching upwards
Long carrying distances
Strenuous pushing or pulling
Insufficient rest or recovery time
To the lowest level “reasonably
TIME v EFFORT v MONEY in proportion
to the benefits
Mechanical aids can reduce the risk
They can also improve productivity
Safe systems of work
Proper use of equipment
Co-operation with employer
Inform employer of hazardous activities
Do not put others at risk
Task – reducing the injury
Use a lifting aid?
Improve workplace layout?
Reduce amount of twisting & stooping?
Avoid lifting from floor to above shoulder
Reduce carrying distances?
Push rather than Pull
Tall or Short?
Individual – reducing the
Pay particular attention to those who have a
Take extra care of pregnant workers
Give your colleagues more info. Eg the range of
tasks they are likely to face
Provide more training
Get advice from Occupational health if needed
Bulky or Unwieldy?
Difficult to Grasp?
Unstable or Contents
Likely to Shift?
Sharp – Rough – Hot
Load – reducing the injury
Can you make the load:
Lighter or less bulky
Easier to grasp
Less damaging to hold
If the load comes from elsewhere, have you
asked the employer to help – handles or
Environment – reducing the
Remove obstructions to free movement
Provide better flooring
Avoid steps & steep ramps
Prevent extremes of hot & cold
Wear less restrictive PPE
Ensure PPE is correct for the task
Reduce guideline weights if:
The handler twists beyond 45 by 10%
The handler twists beyond 90 by 20%
Infrequent operators = 30 operations per
Once or twice per minute reduce by 30%
5 to 8 per minute reduce by 50%
More than 12 per minute reduce by 80%
If You Hurt Your Back
Report the incident to your line manager
as soon as possible
Seek medical advice if in acute pain or
symptoms last longer than 72 hours
Contact the Occupational Health
Department for advice