School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


a man mowing a sports pitch

Work and Health Research Centre

What Constitutes Effective Manual Handling? (HSE)

Research Team

Professor Cheryl Haslam
Professor Roger Haslam
Dr Stacy Clemes
Claire Williams
Hilary McDermott
Kate Shaw

Funding Body

Health & Safety Executive


Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) have remained the most common reported type of work-related ill health in Great Britain for over a decade (HSC, 2004) . Over 1 million people are affected by MSDs each year and an estimated 11.8 million working days were lost in 2003/2004. The majority of individuals suffering from a work-related MSD suffer from a disorder affecting their back. Back pain is most common in workers who undertake tasks that involve: heavy manual labour, heavy handling, manual handling and repetitive tasks ( Manual handling covers a wide variety of tasks which include lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling and carrying.

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations (1992) set out a hierarchy of control measures aimed at reducing the incidence of injury through manual handling. Training has a role to play in supplementing other approaches in the prevention of work related MSDs.


  • HSC (2004) Health and Safety Statistics Highlights 2003/04. HSE Books: Sudbury.
  • HSE (2205)