Safe handling guidance to cut 1,700 acute injuries each year

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Safe handling is about more than how to pick up a heavy box
Safe handling is about more than how to pick up a heavy box

Related tags Employment Occupational safety and health

New guidance has been launched in an effort to reduce the 1,700 acute injuries that occur each year in the food and drink sector caused by manual handling.

The advice, from workplace transport training body RTITB, is designed to help employers improve their manual handling processes, increase safety and boost efficiency.

Manual handling refers to lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling and carrying loads. Although it may vary across the food and drink supply chain, unless managed correctly, problems can cause worker injuries by putting a strain on the limbs, tendons, heart and, most commonly, muscles and backs.

“There can be a misconception among both employers and staff that manual handling is just about how to pick up a heavy box,”​ says RTITB md Laura Nelson.

‘Manual handling process’

“However, this is just one part of manual handling processes that employers should tackle to improve productivity and safety in their food and drink operations.”

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations (MHOR) 1992 (as amended 2002) outline a recommended three-step approach for companies.

This covers how to ‘avoid’ manual handling by implementing automated processes where possible, to ‘assess’ the risk of injury where it cannot be avoided and ‘reduce’ the risk as far as possible.

Successfully implementing the right equipment within the workplace can help to significantly reduce the risk of injury, claimed RTITB.

Boost overall productivity

Mechanised or automated handling equipment can also speed up operations and boost overall productivity.

Training is a valuable measure for ensuring that employees are able to perform daily tasks correctly and safely and is an effective way for companies to enforce safety regulations and practices, said RTITB.

Employers have a legal obligation to provide the required staff training for any job, and this extends to educating employees in manual handling, it added.

A free Health & Safety Executive booklet ‘Moving Food and Drink: Manual handling solutions for the food and drink industry’​ may be a useful resource for employers to download.

Related topics Hygiene, safety & cleaning

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1 comment

Free Manual Handling Guide

Posted by Philippa Myall-Chance,

We've also put together a manual handling guide here at Initiafy, which can be used as part of a safety induction:

A great way of ensuring this training is delivered consistently with auditable completion records, is to deliver inductions and training online on a platform like

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