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Manual Handling Hazards

Injuries associated with manual handling

As you would expect, the back makes up the part of the body most commonly affected by manual handling injuries, however, as can be seen from the following, all areas of the body can be affected.

  • Back - 49%

  • Finger/thumb - 14%

  • Arm - 10%

  • Hand/wrist - 9%

  • Lower limb - 8%

  • Rest of torso - 7%

  • Other areas - 3%

The different types of injuries which could be received during manual handling activities tend to depend on the area of the body affected, however, the main injury is a sprain or a strain which is to be expected due to the physical effort of carrying out manual handling operations. Shown below are the following injuries associated with manual handling operations:

  • Sprains/strains - 69%

  • Lacerations - 11%

  • Bruising - 6%

  • Other superficial injuries - 4%

  • Fractures - 4%

  • Other injuries (e.g. crush) - 6%


A ligament connects bone to bone, usually at the joints within the body. If a joint is stretched beyond its normal movement then the ligaments are overstretched.

An example of a sprain is a twisted ankle.


When a muscle is overstretched or overloaded it can tear; sometimes the muscle will bleed and show as a bruise beneath the skin.

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