manual handling injuries

How to prevent manual handling injuries in the workplace

Did you know that musculoskeletal disorders account for around a third of work-related injuries? In 2021 it was estimated that 40,000 construction workers suffered from musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) which includes injuries, aches, pains and discomfort in joints, muscles and bones. With these stats in mind, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have been visiting construction sites  to raise the awareness and risks involved in manual handling and steps they can take to help avoid injuries.

Heavy manual labour, awkward posture and repetitive moments have always been associated with cumulative damage and acute injury, hindering the quality of life of people and their ability to perform everyday tasks.  There are ways to control and reduce the risks of manual handling and these can be divided into four key areas:

  1. Develop a specific manual handling process. By formulating and documenting a clear and consistent approach for controlling manual handling risks, the workplace will understand what is expected of them and help everyone fulfil health and safety objectives.
  2. Detail risk assessment of manual handling. As part of your overall risk assessment, conduct a detailed task specific manual handling assessment. This assessment must use the hierarchy of control and where possible eliminate the risk through avoiding the activity or using mechanical means.
  3. Manual handling training. Training and awareness are critical in helping to reduce the risk of manual handling injuries. A culture focused on health and safety should stem from the business leaders, managers and supervisors, supporting proactive training to limit the risks associated with manual handling.
  4. Every employee is an individual. Supporting your employees with manual handling and avoiding potential risks involves understanding the ergonomics of the work activity and ensuring these suit the individual employee’s capabilities. Never assume all employees have the same ability to undertake manual handling activities.

If you would like more information about how you can reduce the risk of injury from manual handling in the workplace, please contact the Sutcliffe & Co Team on 01905 21681 or alternatively email