Many injuries reported around the workplace and at home are due to manual handling – the transporting or supporting of loads by hand or by bodily forces.
The following are suggestions to help you perform your manual handling operations in a safer manner, thereby reducing your chances of injury.



  • Think before lifting/ handling: Plan the lift.
  • Gather enough information
  • Where is the load going to be placed?
  • Would I need help carrying it?
  • Can I use handling aids?

Keep the load close to your waist:

  • Keep the load as close to your body for as long as possible while lifting.
  • Make sure that the heaviest side of the load is closest to your body.

Adopt a stable position:

  • Your feet should be apart with one leg slightly forward to maintain balance (alongside the load, if it is on the ground).
  • You should be prepared to move your feet during the lift to maintain your stability.

Start in a good posture:

  • At the start of the lift, try to bend your hips and knees rather than stooping (fully flexing the back) or squatting (fully flexing the hips and knees).
  • Get up with your legs, not with your back.

Avoid twisting your back or leaning sideways:

  • Your shoulders should be kept level and should face in the same direction as your hips.
  • If you must turn, do so by moving your feet, and not by twisting and lifting at the same time.


Don’t lift or handle more than can be easily managed:
There is a difference between what you can lift and what you can safely lift.

Put down, then adjust:
Always put the load down first, then slide it into the desired position.


When Pushing or Pulling

Handling devices:

  • If using trolleys or barrows, make sure their handle heights are between the shoulder and waist.
  • If devices have wheels, the wheels should run smoothly and should require minimum maintenance.

You should try to push rather than pull a load when moving it; and you should be able to see over it and also control steering and stopping

Health and safety