Advice for Workers and Employers

You need to comply with the risk assessment requirements set out in the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 as well as the requirement in the HSE Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (as amended) (MHOR) to carry out a risk assessment on manual handling tasks.

The MHOR Regulations in Brief

The employer’s duty is to avoid Manual Handling as far as reasonably practicable if there is a possibility of injury. If this cannot be done then they must reduce the risk of injury as far as reasonably practicable. If an employee is complaining of discomfort, any changes to work to avoid or reduce manual handling must be monitored to check they are having a positive effect. However, if they are not working satisfactorily, alternatives must be considered.

The regulations set out a hierarchy of measures to reduce the risks of manual handling. These are in regulation 4(1) and as follows:

  • avoid hazardous manual handling operations so far as reasonably practicable;
  • assess any hazardous manual handling operations that cannot be avoided;
  • reduce the risk of injury so far as reasonably practicable.

The guidance on the HSE Manual Handling Regulations includes a risk assessment filter and checklist to help employers assess manual handling tasks. A revised version of the MHOR was published in March 2004. It also includes a checklist to help you assess the risk(s) posed by workplace pushing and pulling activities.

In addition, employees have duties to take reasonable care of their own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by their actions. They must communicate with their employers so that they too are able to meet their health and safety duties.

Employees have general health and safety duties to:

  • follow appropriate systems of work laid down for their safety
  • make proper use of equipment provided for their safety
  • co-operate with their employer on health and safety matters
  • inform the employer if they identify hazardous handling activities
  • take care to ensure that their activities do not put others at risk