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The Manual handling regulations 1992

The Manual handling regulations (MHR) apply to activities such as lifting, carrying, pushing or moving by hand or bodily force, usually carried out at work. They apply as guidelines to workers, their managers as well as safety representatives to reduce the risk of injuries. They are in place because over a third of injuries reported at work are a result of incorrect manual handling or carrying objects that are too heavy for one’s abilities.

What are the risks of manual handling?

Manual handling carries a risk of injuries if it is performed incorrectly. If you are moving or handling goods at work you could be at risk. Injuries may occur in a huge variety of ways which can include handling relatively small weight repeatedly without proper risk assessment, training or correct conditions. Poor conditions or incorrect workplace layout can also be factors contributing to potentially dangerous manual handling tasks.

What obligations do employers have under MHR?

Your employer has got a duty to ensure that:

  • Measures are in place to avoid unsafe manual handling
  • Assess the risks of injury from any hazardous manual handling and whether it could be avoided, it might also be useful to record the results of your assessment
  • As far as reasonably practicable to reduce the risks of injury

What are your duties under MHR?

In order to comply with MHR you, as an employee, are under the obligation to:

  • Follow the safety measures which are implemented in your workplace
  • Use the equipment provided properly and safely
  • Inform your employer if you think there are any handling dangers in the workplace
  • Co-operate with your employer on any health and safety measures
  • Make sure that your activities do not put anyone else at risk
  • Avoid manual handling if it is not absolutely necessary: if the object can be moved by someone else or by use of equipment then you should leave it be

Guideline weights for lifting

It is understandable that by nature women tend to be less physically capable of handling heavy objects than men. As a result the guideline weights for lifting are different for men and women. According to the manual handling chart provided with the MHR, the weights for lifting and lowering are as follows:


  • Shoulder height: between 3kg and 7kg
  • Elbow height: between 7kg and 13kg
  • Knuckle height: between 10kg and 16kg
  • Mid lower leg height: between 3kg and 7kg


  • Shoulder height: between 5kg and 10kg
  • Elbow height: between 10kg and 20kg
  • Knuckle height: between 15kg and 25kg
  • Mid lower leg height: between 5kg and 10kg

These figures are an estimate only and should be taken as guidelines rather than principles as personal circumstances and health conditions of each individual must be taken into account.

Basic principles

The Regulations lay down some basic principles that should be followed by anyone who is manual handling. These are as follows:

  • You should ensure that the object you are about to lift is light and stable enough
  • Use handling aid equipment to move heavy loads
  • Ensure that the route you are taking while carrying a heavy object is clear and that there is enough space to put the load down
  • To lift a heavy object you should stand close to it and bend your knees as well as keep your back in its natural position, ensure you have a good grip of the object and use your legs as a leverage against it
  • When carrying the object make sure it is as close to you as possible and that you keep your elbows tucked in to the body
  • Avoid twisting your body; try to keep it straight without straining your back

If you have suffered a lifting injury we can advise and assist on making a no win no fee claim. Contact us today to find out more.

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