Published October 30th, 2020
What is Manual Handling Risk Assessment?
A manual handling risk assessment is primarily carried out by health and safety officers to evaluate the risk factors of lifting, putting down, carrying, moving, and handling objects during work operations. Assessing manual handling risks is crucial to protect workers from musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), increase job satisfaction, and improve quality of work.
This article will briefly discuss the following:
- What are the 4 key areas of manual handling?
- What are the hazards in manual handling?
- What are examples of manual handling risk factors?
- Manual Handling Risk Assessment Tool
- Free manual handling risk assessment templates you can download, customize, and use.
When performing manual handling risk assessments, the assessor mainly focuses on the 4 key areas of manual handling which is often referred to as the acronym TILE (Task, Individual, Load, and Environment). In some safety circles, “other factors” have been identified as another key area for evaluating manual handling risks, turning the assessment method into TILEO (Task, Individual, Load, Environment, and Other factors).
A hazard in manual handling usually means any source that can expose workers to the risk of MSDs and other injuries. Upon identifying hazardous manual handling, assess the risks and mitigate them according to the hierarchy of controls. The most common moving and manual handling hazards include the TILEO:
- Task: too strenuous, involves long distances, see 9 more examples
- Individual: no training, lack of experience, unfamiliar with the job, physical capabilities, and prior history of injuries
- Load: too heavy, too large, difficult to grasp or reach, obscures the worker’s view, and unbalanced, unstable, or if its contents can move
- Environment: insufficient work space, uneven or slippery floors, unstable platforms, heat stress, and poor lighting
- Other factors: monotonous tasks at a high pace and prolonged work without resting, among others
Generally, the risk factors for manual handling follow the principle of direct correlation. For example, if the frequency, magnitude, or duration of hazardous manual handling increases, then the risk of being injured also increases, as well as the need for more effective control measures or higher levels in the hierarchy of controls. According to SafeWork Australia, the characteristics of hazardous manual tasks involve:
- Repetitive Force – lifting and stacking goods onto a pallet
- Sustained Force – carrying objects over long distances
- High Force – lifting, lowering, or carrying a heavy object
- Sudden Force – throwing or catching objects
- Repetitive Movement – lifting goods from a conveyor belt and packing them in a carton
- Sustained Posture – supporting plasterboard sheeting while it is nailed into place
- Awkward Posture – squatting while servicing plant or a vehicle
- Whole-body Vibration – operating mobile plant such as heavy earth moving machinery
- Hand-arm Vibration – using impact wrenches, chainsaws, jackhammers, grinders, and drills (click here to learn more about HAVS: Hand-arm Vibration Syndrome)
Assessing and mitigating manual handling risks are just the beginning. Easily demonstrate how you value your employees’ safety and build a safety culture from the ground up with iAuditor by SafetyCulture, a manual handling risk assessment tool that can help you perform the following:
- Use manual handling risk assessment templates anytime, anywhere, and on any mobile device—even when offline or without internet connection
- Take photos of manual handling risk factors and annotate images for improved visual reference
- Assign corrective actions with a priority level and due date to effectively record and follow through on control measures
- Auto-generate and secure manual handling assessments in the cloud and access them from wherever you are
- Share handling assessment reports to key personnel with a tap of a finger
Get started by downloading this free collection of customizable manual handling risk assessment templates and modify them according to your business needs.
Featured Manual Handling Risk Assessment Templates
Manual Handling Risk Assessment
A manual handling risk assessment is used to identify hazards that may cause musculoskeletal injuries to workers when they perform manual handling. Use this template to evaluate the load capacity of an item and identify the risks while carrying or lifting loads. Use iAuditor to capture photo hazards and annotate them to highlight the issues encountered. Assign corrective actions to the authorized person or team to review and implement remedial actions.
Manual Handling Risk Assessment Template
A manual handling risk assessment template is used by managers or shift supervisors to help identify the risk for all workers who perform manual handling, lifting, and carrying of loads. This template includes observation tips to assist the supervisor when inspecting workers performing manual tasks. Use the color coded risk rating reference to rate the overall risk level of the manual handling activity. Perform observations with iAuditor to assess the position of the operative’s hands at the start of the lift and as the lift progresses. Check the route, distance, and other environmental factors to help identify the manual handling risks. Use iAuditor to generate comprehensive web reports even while on site.
Manual Handling Assessment
A manual handling assessment is used to assess the general safety of all employees before commencing work. This assessment can help evaluate if the workers are knowledgeable, trained, and practices safe lifting techniques. This Manual Handling Assessment also checks if load materials are labeled with their weight and are easy to grasp and carry. Use iAuditor to conduct digital assessments and generate comprehensive reports anytime anywhere.
Moving and Handling Risk Assessment
This moving and handling risk assessment is used to evaluate the risks of manual handling practices performed during team operations. Observe the number of workers performing the task and if the weight of the load is properly distributed to each team member. Use iAuditor to capture photo references and generate reports even if you’re offline.
Ergonomic Assessment Checklists
Browse this collection of free Ergonomic Assessment Templates converted using iAuditor to ensure that the workers and their working environments are maximized for comfort and with the minimal risk of injury. These ergonomic checklists can help assess if your workplace complies with ergonomic safety. You can depend on the iAuditor app for your assessments even if your mobile devices are offline.
HSE Risk Assessment Checklist
You can perform your HSE Risk Assessments using this template to help manage the health and safety hazards at your workplace. This checklist covers: identifying observed potential/existing hazards and assessing the risk level and providing control measures. Use iAuditor’s Analytics to monitor and review planned control measures and identify the frequently high-risk items to better manage the risks in the workplace.