Manual handling

Think about your place of worship – you may find there is more manual handling being undertaken than you first realise.

Some organisations regularly move items such as furniture, platforms, organs or pianos to cater for differing needs. Can any of this be avoided, or made safer?

Where manual handling is involved, it is a legal requirement that you carry out an assessment of all manual handling wherever possible. If moving items by hand cannot be avoided, then you should provide training and mechanical assistance such as trolleys wherever possible.

Any training provided 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 trolleys); and
  • practical work to allow the trainer to identify and put right anything the trainee is not doing safely.

Manual handling injuries are often noted some time after the activity may have taken place and can lead to issues such as chronic back pain, muscle strains and tears, and joint illnesses.  

The 6 safe steps to manual handling are:

  • Assess the load,
  • Adopt a good posture,
  • Keep close to the body,
  • Adjust position,
  • Lift smoothly,
  • Don’t twist.

Important note
Stop and think - plan the lift! Can it be lifted safely?

The HSE website has useful guidance on methods to promote safe manual handling.