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  • Sharon Burbidge

Manual Handling


Manual handling facts and figures


Accidents which lead to persons having 'over 3' days off work are reportable to the enforcing authorities under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR); the make-up of these reportable accidents identifies manual handling as a major problem.

  • Manual Handling - 38%

  • Trips - 23%

  • Hit by moving/falling object - 13%

  • Falls - 4%

  • Hit by moving vehicle - 2%

  • All other accidents - 20%


Impact of manual handling injuries on the individual


Manual handling injury/illness can be life changing; as well as the changes to the individual's ability to carry out a large variety of work tasks which could affect job prospects. There will also need to be changes made to lifestyle, sporting and leisure activities.


Individuals with the more serious back injuries will be required to attend a large number of rehabilitation/physiotherapy sessions, often take medication and suffer from considerable discomfort and lack of sleep due to not being able to get into a comfortable position either standing, sitting or lying down.


Impact of manual handling injuries on the organisation


Where injuries/illness which lead to absence are caused by manual handling activities within an organisation, there are numerous possible consequences; the main ones are:

  • Replacement of staff, including advertising, recruitment and selection;

  • Overtime payments or agency staff costs to cover the absence;

  • Accident investigation and reporting the findings;

  • Changes to the health and safety policy;

  • Changes in work procedures and processes;

  • Possible investigation by enforcement authorities which may lead to criminal charges; and

  • Personal injury claims.


Impact of manual handling injuries on society


Manual handling injuries place a large burden on society - over 1 million sufferers, approximately 12 million lost working days and an estimate on the cost to society in financial terms of £5.7 billion (source HSE research). This will be primarily up of health, rehabilitation and welfare costs which are provided by all of society through tax and national insurance contributions.



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