What to look for in manual handling training courses (and what to avoid)

What to look for in manual handling training courses (and what to avoid)

Posted on Jan 04, 2016

What to look for in manual handling training courses (and what to avoid)



online manual handling training

As an owner, manager or the responsible person – it’s down to you to ensure safe practices within your organisation, and that your staff, contractors, visitors and the public are safe from harm.

Training is required throughout various aspects of your industry, but what should you be looking for when it comes to a ‘good’ training course that you intend to roll out across your organisation?


The law on manual handling

Employers have a legal obligation under the ‘Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992’ to make a sufficient and suitable assessment of the risk to employees from the manual handling of loads. This is a legal requirement – and the regulations must be complied with.


So what should a manual handling training course cover?

The HSE recommends that a Manual Handling training course should cover the following points:

  • manual handling risk factors and how injuries can occur
  • how to carry out safe manual handling including good handling technique
  • appropriate systems of work for the individual's tasks and environment
  • use of mechanical aids
  • practical work to allow the trainer to identify and put right anything the trainee is not doing safely.


Whilst training your employees is an important step in raising awareness and reducing risk, you should never assume that the training alone will be enough to ensure safe manual handling.

Any training you provide your employees and staff should also be accompanied with monitoring, risk assessments and regular reviews of any processes you have in place that involve manual handling – this will help you ensure the training has been understood and is being applied to the tasks correctly.

More information on how to perform a manual handling risk assessment can be found here – we’ve even included a handy downloadable risk assessment template for you to print off and complete.


What to avoid

1. Aged, old content


It sounds pretty obvious but out-of-date material is a big no-no. All training needs to be up-to-date and in-line with current law and legislation – otherwise, there’s no point in completing it. Any health and safety training you complete should follow the HSE guidelines.




2. Are you learning the correct practices?


Also, you must ensure that the legislation and law that is being quoted and taught is for the correct country (there’s no point learning the Spanish laws when it comes to manual handling regulations if your organisation is situated in Barnsley!)





3. Boring content


Crass imagery, poor re-enactments and disconnected examples of manual handling will just turn users off. Your learners need to be captured and engaged if you want them to take in the important points from the training. And make it relevant to their job roles – there’s no point in them learning how to use a dolly or move a barrel if they are moving the boxes of paper onto shelves in the stationary cupboard.





4. Leaving the training until someone has an accident


Another big no-no. The safety of your employees comes first. If you don’t want to face potential fines and lawsuits against you – get that training done.





5. Complacency – not repeating the training

Just because you’ve completed the training once doesn’t mean you can now sit back and do nothing. All areas of manual handling must be assessed and reviewed regularly. Ensure your employees are ‘pumped’ when it comes to health and safety – and that they are aware of their responsibilities too.





Remember, manual handling is one of the most common causes of injury at work and causes over a third of all workplace injuries, which include work related Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) such as upper and lower limb pain/disorders, joint and repetitive strain injuries. Correct training and follow-up can ensure not just the safety of your employees and visitors but the safety of your company too.



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