A Guide to Conducting Manual Handling Training

Learn what manual handling training is, why it’s important, its components, and how to conduct better manual handling training courses in your organization.

What is Manual Handling Training?

Manual handling training is the process of teaching employees proper techniques for manual handling. This includes lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, and carrying objects. These training courses are designed to show employees the safest ways to conduct these activities to prevent workplace injuries and accidents. It’s a critical component of workplace safety programs, aimed at protecting employees from harm and promoting a culture of safety and health at work.


Around 20% of non-fatal workplace injuries are caused by manual handling. When employees are taught the safest and most effective ways to handle materials and objects manually during in-depth training sessions, organizations can drastically reduce the chances of an injury or accident. This, along with other safety initiatives, significantly improves workplace safety.

While organizations have a moral obligation to protect their workers and reduce the risks of working the job, they also have a legal duty to fulfill. Different regions, countries, and territories have specific regulations and standards around manual handling training to ensure that organizations provide their employees with the knowledge necessary to reduce risks in the workplace.

Lastly, proper handling of materials and equipment also leads to increased efficiency. Trained employees can perform tasks more effectively, minimizing downtime and optimizing overall productivity.

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Components of Manual Handling Training

Organizations should customize and align their manual handling training programs based on their unique needs and what their employees will do regularly. However, manual handling training courses must include the following key components:

  • Risk Assessment: Before engaging in any manual handling activity, a comprehensive risk assessment is crucial. This involves evaluating the task at hand, identifying potential hazards, and implementing measures to mitigate risks.
  • Lifting Techniques: One of the fundamental aspects of manual handling training is teaching correct lifting techniques. This includes proper body posture, lifting with the legs rather than the back, and utilizing equipment when necessary.
  • Ergonomics: Training should include insights into the design of workspaces, tools, and equipment to optimize human well-being and overall performance.
  • Demonstrations: Effective manual handling training incorporates practical demonstrations. This hands-on approach allows employees to apply theoretical knowledge, reinforcing their understanding of safe handling practices.

In this day and age, organizations have begun adopting digital platforms to conduct training programs more efficiently. Tools like SafetyCulture Training help training managers, HR teams, supervisors, and skills development personnel streamline their workflows and processes when implementing manual handling courses in the workplace. It also has features for monitoring employee progress, tracking milestones, and scheduling recurring training courses for optimal delivery of programs.

Regulations and Standards

There are various rules around manual handling training around the world, including these regulations that organizations worldwide must follow.:


Manual handling training isn’t mandatory in the United States. However, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides guidelines and standards on safe manual handling practices under the OSH Act. Additionally, employers must be able to provide and implement training programs to address manual handling risks.


Regulation 4(3)(C) of the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 states that manual handling training is mandatory in the UK. This is why organizations must take the time and effort to create comprehensive training courses and ensure that employees go through them.

Leon Altomonte
Article by

Leon Altomonte

SafetyCulture Content Contributor
Leon Altomonte is a content contributor for SafetyCulture. With his language degree and years of experience in content writing, he delivers well-researched, informative articles about safety, quality, and operational excellence. In addition to his professional pursuits, Leon maintains a creative outlet as a performing musician.