Manual handling risk assessments – why do you need to do them and are there tools to help?

Manual handling risk assessments – why do you need to do them and are there tools to help?

Posted on Feb 05, 2016

Manual handling risk assessments – why do you need to do them and are there tools to help?

online manual handling training



It’s difficult to keep track of our responsibilities especially in the face of changes in legislation/best practice and conflicting guidance. This is why we wanted to put together the definite guide to conducting manual handling risk assessments. 


Why should I conduct manual handling risk assessment? 


The stats for 2013/14 estimates that a staggering 909,000 working days were lost due to manual handling injuries. Undeniably, poor manual handling is both a significant risk to employee wellbeing and a huge cost to your business. Equally, implementing a robust system for manual handling risk assessments offers the chance for significant improvement within your organisation. 


Manual handling best practice


Typically, manual handling best practice is considered to be:

  • Carrying out a thorough risk assessment of processes and tasks 
  • Ensuring sufficient controls are in place to prevent any accidents 
  • Communicating any hazards and potential risks to your team in a clear manner
  • Monitoring your operational standards on a regular basis 
  • Involving your employees in the process
  • Reviewing and updating any processes that involve unnecessary manual handling. 


Are there tools to help me with my manual handling risk assessments? 


The tool you need is called the MAC tool – this stands for Manual Handling Assessment Charts. 


How the Manual Handling MAC Assessment Tool helps you


The MAC tool was developed to help you identify high-risk manual handling activities. Our level 2 assessment tool contained within the RoSPA accredited health & safety training  can be completed in only 8 minutes and will walk you through completing a MAC assessment for your organisation.


It defines the MAC tool: 

 flick learning's manual handling course

Explains the four levels of risk: 

flick learning's manual handling course



It then applies the risk assessment to the different types of manual handling activity – lifting, carrying and team handling: 

flick learning's manual handling - the MAC tool course  

You’re then able to work through an assessment of each risk factor, taking into consideration all of the other variables: 

  • Load weight and lift/carry frequency 
  • Hand distance from lower back 
  • Vertical lift region 
  • Twisting/bending/asymmetrical loads 
  • Postural constraints 
  • Grip on the load 
  • Floor surface 
  • Other environmental factors 
  • Carry distance 
  • Obstacles en route 
  • Communication and coordination 

The outcome of working through these risk factors is a colour banding and numerical score (shown below): 

flick learning's manual handling - risk assessment 

What’s really great about the way this tool is setup, is that you can see at a glance exactly where the risks are, and once you’ve worked your way through it, your risk assessment is pretty much done for you. 

Or, if you’d rather have a hard copy to hand, we’ve also created a free download for you.


flick learning's manual handling course free trial


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