Humane Technology logoManual Handing Operations


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What is the background to the Seminar?

Manual handling operations occur in an immense variety of jobs. While there have long been guidelines on the maximum acceptable weights which employees should be asked to carry, there is a dearth of objective data or guidelines for activities in which there are variations in the weights involved and/or the frequency with which and/or the height at which they are handled.

In some types of work, such as patient handling, the hazards are readily identifiable, though reasonably practicable ways of reducing the risk are sometimes not. In other types of work it is questionable whether the 'handling operations' come within the meaning of the Manual Handling Operations Regulations. While back and upper limb problems are popularly understood to be associated with the physical demands of work, the available scientific evidence is equivocal and the moves towards an evidence-based approach to the prevention and management of musculo-skeletal disorders has challenged many long-standing and widely-held beliefs.

The Health and Safety Executive has recently issued new guidance on the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992, which were amended by the Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2002, which came into force on the 17th September 2002. Alleged breaches of the Manual Handling Operations Regulations are often cited in personal injury claims for musculo-skeletal disorders. An evaluation (Contract Research Report 346/2001:
), commissioned by the HSE, of the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 and associated guidance identified 'Fear of compensation claims' as one of the greatest motivators for both large and small organisations to implement the Regulations.

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