Manual Handling


Some activities at the University require staff to lift, push and pull items etc. and this manual handling is subject to specific regulations under health and safety law.  In theory, all manual handling activities should be managed so that the risk to staff is minimised, before carrying out any assessment it is necessary to refer to the University Guidance SCoP 12 Manual Handling.

HSE has issued guidance setting out a hierarchy of measures you need to follow whenever you are engaged in manual handling and is as follows:

  1. If you can, you need to AVOID harmful manual handling.  This means, don't lift anything that is too heavy, too big, too awkward or just plain difficult.  Can you change the activity, break down the load to smaller and lighter components?
  2. If you have to lift or manoeuvre something, ASSESS the activity so that you know exactly what the task is and what the risks are!  Finally.....
  3. Following your assessment, implement the control measures and REDUCE the risk of injury!

Manual Handling Assessment

The majority of lifting, pushing and pulling can be performed quite safely, simply by observing good manual handling technique. The University has adopted a 2 stage approach to manual handling assessment. If the nature of the activity means there is no risk due to the size of the load and the activity, then there's is nothing further to do. However, if the activity places the member of staff at risk, a simple STAGE 1 assessment is needed.  If the manual handling activity does not meet the standards set out in a STAGE 1 assessment, then a fuller STAGE 2 assessment is needed.  This will result in a Safe Lifting Procedure being drafted and agreed.

STAGE 1 Simple Assessment

A STAGE 1 assessment is nothing more than a quick look at the activity and comparing it to published guidelines and this will be relevant to most routine activities. If the manual handling activity falls within these guidelines, a more detailed assessment is not necessary. When completing the STAGE 1 assessment, the form MHA1 must be used.

STAGE 2 Assessment

A STAGE 2 assessment is needed when the lifting activity involves risk and cannot be achieved by a simple STAGE 1 assessment. The STAGE 2 assessment is purely subjective and requires consideration of the Task, Individual, Location and Environment (TILE). When completing a STAGE 2 assessment, you must use the form MHA2.
Once a STAGE 1 or STAGE 2 assessment has been completed, form MHA3 must be completed.

Safe Lifting Procedure

Once either the STAGE 1 or STAGE 2 assessments have been completed, the safe manual handling procedure must be set out considering the range of options including breaking down the load, changing the process to reduce frequency and complexity of the lift, use of equipment to assist lifting and carrying.


  1. STAGE 1 MHA1
  2. STAGE 2 MHA2
  3. Covering Form for both types of assessment MHA3
  4. Safe Lifting Procedure

Manual Handling Process

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