Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations (1992), or MOHR, are regulations created that cover the safe ‘transporting or supporting of a load (including the lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving thereof) by hand or bodily force.’ The load in question can be an object, person or animal.

Who does MOHR apply too?Illustration of a man injuring himself from carrying a cardboard box.

The regualtions require employers to;

  • Avoid the need for hazardous manual handling, ‘so as far is reasonably possible’.
  • Assess the risk of injury from any hazardous manual handling that cant be avoided.
  • Reduce the risk of injury from hazardous manual handling, ‘so as far is reasonably possible’.
What does the HSE say?

The MOHR 1992 set out a clear ranking of measures for dealing with risks from manual handling, these are:

  1. Avoid hazardous manual handling operations so far is reasonably practical.
  2. Assess any hazardous manual handling operations that cannot be avoided.
  3. Reduce the risk of injury so far as is reasonably practical.

Employees have duties too. They should;

  • Follow systems of work in place for their safety.
  • Use equipment provided for their safety properly.
  • Cooperate with their employers on health and safety matters.
  • Inform their employer if they identify hazardous handling activities.
  • Take care to make sure their activities do not put others at risk

How do I risk assess a manual handling activity?

If the use of manual handling aids is not possible then it is a requirement to formalise a risk assessment, be it dynamic or task-based. The acronym, TILEO helps break down the various considerations to be made in this circumstance.

  • Task – Does the task involve; twisting, swooping, holding loads away from the trunk, reaching upwards, strenuous pulling or pushing, carrying long distances, unpredictable load movement or repetitive handling?
  • Individual – Is the individual carrying out the task suitable? Do they have a pre-existing medical condition or are they pregnant for example?
  • Load – Is the load suitable for manual handling. If not always seek to use a manual handling aid.
  • Environment – Is the lighting poor? Is it windy and do obstacles pose a problem?
  • Other Factors – Consider other factors which may impact the process. For example, is PPE restrictive?

Text which reads "What is LOLER and how does it apply to manual handling? Should the lifting process involve MHE, Mechanical Handling Equipment like a hoist or forklift truck, the equipment in question must conform with the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (1998), also known as LOLER. These regulations state that equipment used for lifting is fit for purpose, appropriate for the task, suitably marked and, in many cases, subject to statuatory periodic ‘thorough examination’ every 12 months. If the equipment utlises any attachments or is responsible for transporting personnel it must be inspected every 6 months." in a white font against a blue background.

What must be done?

Consideration must be made when assessing potential risks. Check whether you need to manually handle it at all. For example, can raw materials be delivered directly to their point of use?  Consider the use of mechanical handling aids, particularly for new processes. For example, can work by completed with the use of a conveyor, pallet truck or an electric powered hoist?

Dynamic vs Task-based Risk Assessment

Dynamic – When a risk assessment is required on-site, a Dynamic Risk Assessment can be created. This aims to assess the risks on the spot swiftly, and doesn’t require formal documentation.

Task – A task-based risk assessment seeks to provide a more thorough breakdown of the risk and processes a manual handling task entails before it is completed. Task-based risk assessments are suitable for pre-planned repeated activities.

In all scenarios, a method of utilising manual handling aids should be pursued as this eliminates the risk altogether.

What if manual handling is unavoidable?

As set out in MOHR and the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 guidelines, a competent person should complete a suitable and sufficient risk assessment to identify the level of risk associated with the task and this should be applied to manual handling operations. A task-based assessment can be made via figure 1, left.

·         Each box contains a guideline weight for lifting and lowering in that zone.

·         If the maximum weight lifted is less than the figure given in the box, the operation is within guidelines.

Training as a control

If no other alternative method of eliminating the risk of manual handling can be found, it is vital that the correct manual handling techniques are known.
An illustration of two footprints either side of a blue box.The feet should be apart with one leg slightly forward to maintain balance (alongside the load, if it is on the ground). The worker should be prepared to move their feet during the lift to maintain their stability. Avoid tight clothing or unsuitable footwear, which may make this difficult.
An illustration of a person squatting down close to the floor to lift a blue box.Get a good hold. Where possible, the load should be hugged as close as possible to the body. This may be better than gripping it tightly with hands only.

Start in a good posture. At the start of the lift, slight bending of the back, hips and knees is preferable to fully flexing the back (stooping) or fully flexing the hips and knees (squatting).

Don’t flex the back any further while lifting. This can happen if the legs begin to straighten before starting to raise the load.

An illustration of a person carrying a blue box.Keep the load close to the waist and keep the load close to the body for as long as possible while lifting. Keep the heaviest side of the load next to the body. If a close approach to the load is not possible, try to slide it towards the body before attempting to lift it. leg.



(All information is correct as of 16th October 2019)