Manual Handling (OBUHSN-34)


The Manual Handling Regulations came into effect on the 1 January 1993 (SI 1992 No 2793), and define "manual handling operations" as any transporting or supporting of a load by hand or bodily source. This could involve pushing, pulling, carrying, moving, lifting and putting down. The Regulations refer to a load as including any person or animal. The Regulations place duties upon the employer to avoid as far as is reasonably practicable the need for employees to undertake manual handling at work which gives rise to injury. The requirement that an assessment is carried out is detailed and requires consideration of the task, the load, the working environment, individual capability and restrictions due to personnel protective equipment or clothing. The Regulations also covers employees duties, assessment guidelines and a specimen assessment sheet.

This Health and Safety Notice must be read and understood by all employees of Oxford Brookes University.

All Oxford Brookes University staff carry out some kind of manual handling during the working day, but the risk of injuries from the majority of tasks undertaken is minimal, due to the small size of the load and its simplicity. However certain categories of University staff are required to move awkward and/or significant loads.

Managers' duties

Deans of Faculties and Directors of Directorates are responsible for deciding what categories of their staff are most susceptible to risk of injury when undertaking the manual handling of loads, and what manual handling tasks could give rise to a risk of injury. These details must be recorded and a duplicate copy sent to the Safety Team.

Deans of Faculties and Directors of Directorates should first consider if any manual handling task could be eliminated by the introduction of a different work method, or whether the task could be mechanised.

Deans of Faculties and Directors of Directorates are responsible for assessing all manual handling tasks, considering the health and safety risks, and taking appropriate measures to eliminate or reduce the risk, including the introduction of some form of mechanisation. Any equipment used must be regularly serviced and maintained.

The assessment of all manual handling tasks will be carried out by an assessor, who is an appointed person within the Faculty or Directorate, suitably trained and appointed in writing by the Dean of the Faculty or Director of Directorate. Where a number of Oxford Brookes University staff, in the same Faculty or Directorate, carry out similar manual handling tasks, the line manager would be the logical choice as assessor.

The assessment of manual handling tasks

The assessment will use the format as detailed in Primary task analysis sheet and be recorded. A copy will be sent to the Safety Team. The result of the assessment will be reviewed annually, and be reassessed if any significant changes take place to the task, the load, the working environment, individual capabilities, or any other affecting factor.

University staff duties

Any staff of Oxford Brookes University involved in a manual handling task must, under Section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work Act, take reasonable care of their own health and safety, and the health and safety of others who may be affected by what they are doing. The staff must co-operate with the University so that they comply with health and safety regulations.

Staff who carry out manual handling tasks must make full use of the equipment provided which they have been trained to use, and have been given clear instructions by the University. Such equipment must be properly maintained and kept in good working order.

In the event of an emergency, i.e. fire, spillage or accident, this safety notice will not preclude staff from well intentioned improvisation.

Training and information

University staff identified as being in the high risk category for manual handling, will be provided with appropriate training to reduce or eliminate the risk of injury. Refresher training will be provided at regular intervals.

University staff and trade union representatives will be provided with adequate information in all aspects of health and safety that relate to manual handling and all measures to comply with the regulations.

Disagreement procedure

In the event of any health and safety dispute arising over whether, a) a member of staff has not been designated correctly for manual handling tasks, b) the Regulations requirements are being met, and/or c) the member of staff disagrees with the work method as detailed in the assessment, the problem should be discussed first with their line manager. Guidance can be sought from the Senior Occupational Health Advisor and/or the Safety Team. The grievance procedure may be invoked if necessary.

The procedure detailed in paragraph above encourages the involvement of safety representatives in the discussions at any time.

Issue date: 6 July 2019