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Manual Handling

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Overview of Manual Handling 

Chapter 4 of Part 2 of the General Application Regulations 2007 transpose EU Directive 90/269/EEC on the Manual Handling of Loads. The General Application Regulations 2007 are made under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005. The Regulations set out a framework for Employers to minimise or avoid the risk of injury resulting in activities connected with manual handling.  

There are a number of duties imposed on Employers. The Act provides that an Employer shall take appropriate Organisational measures, or use the appropriate means, in particular mechanical equipment, to avoid the need for the manual handling of loads by the Employer’s Employees. The Regulation requires an Employer to organise the work to reduce or eliminate the manual handling of loads by Employees through the use of mechanical or other means. The Employer must carry out a Risk Assessment at the outset of any manual handling tasks in order to make an informed decision on what manual handling tasks can be eliminated or reduced.  The use of mechanical handling equipment must also be considered, where the weight of a load is too great for an Employee to carry or handle, and the Organisational methods used are unsuitable, mechanical equipment must be used. The frequency and the distance involved in lifting the load must also be considered.   

Where the need for the manual handling of loads by the Employer’s Employees cannot be avoided, take appropriate Organisational measures, use appropriate means or provide the Employer’s Employees with such means in order to reduce the risk involved in the manual handling of such loads, having regard to the risk factors specified in Schedule 3 of the Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005, which outlines the general principles of prevention.

Guidance Documents in relation to Manual Handling

There are some comprehensive guidance documents available from the Health and Safety Authority which relate to the Manual Handling of Loads:

Management of Manual Handling in the Workplace

Guide to the Manual Handling Training System - 2010 Revision

Guide to Safety, Health and Welfare at Work General Application Regulations 2007 - Chapter 5 of Part 2 - Display Screen Equipment

Guide to Safety, Health and Welfare at Work General Application Regulations 2007 - Chapter 4 of Part 2 - Manual Handling of Loads

Guide on Prevention and Management of Musculoskeletal Disorders in the Workplace

Guide on Manual Handling Risk Assessment in the Retail Sector

Guide on Manual Handling Risk Assessment in the Manufacturing Sector

Guide on Manual Handling Risk Assessment in the Hospitality Sector

Guidance on the Management of Manual Handling in Healthcare

Ergonomics in the Workplace

Caring with Minimal Lifting

Management of Manual Handling in the Workplace