Manual Handling Training Requirements Guide


If you lift a heavy object carelessly you can pull muscles or suffer damage to your back or upper limbs. If your staff need to do manual handling as part of their job, it is a legal obligation to provide them with training. Our guide looks at how to get a manual handling certificate, and other FAQ’s about getting qualifications.

manual handling being performed on cardboard boxes

How to Get a Manual Handling Certificate?

Manual handling certificates are easy to get and readily available as online courses. If your manual handling operations are straightforward, this can be a convenient way to ensure staff get the right training. The need to sit an assessment and certificates provided to staff is an easy way to ensure compliance with regulations.

Manual Handling Certificate Online Course

  • This course can be completed online in just 3 hours.
  • Download your certificate instantly.
  • Covers all required legislation & practises.
  • Multiple choice assessment – sit as many times as needed to pass.

£20+ VAT

Bulk discounts available for multiple team members.

How Much Does a Manual Handling Course Cost?

The cost of a manual handling course will vary depending on the needs of your workplace. Straightforward courses delivered online can cost from as little as £20+vat and many training providers offer discounts for bulk purchases.

If you need a course delivered on site, or need a classroom course it may be more expensive. This will depend on how many staff you need to deliver manual handling training for.

Is Manual Handling Training a Legal Requirement?

Manual handling training is a legal requirement if your employees need to do regular tasks involving lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, or lowering objects. If there’s even a low level risk of injury then manual handling guidance must be given. Providing a formal training course will ensure that workplace safety is maximised.

How Often Should Manual Handling Training be Carried Out?

It’s advisable for manual handling refresher courses to be conducted every 2 years for all staff who perform manual handling tasks as part of their roles. Any new employees should also get training before starting their new role.

If any part of a task which is regularly performed changes, then training should be provided to make sure manual handling is performed in the safest possible way. Finally, if a workplace sees an increase in injuries or near miss events it may suggest training has been ineffective and needs to be revisited.

How Long Does a Manual Handling Course Take?

Manual handling courses are generally completed within 2-4 hours depending on the format. Online courses can be done and certification obtained in around 3 hours.

Face to face training will vary depending on how many attendees are at the course, and the lifting and handling techniques being covered.

Keeping Records of Training

It’s vital that you ensure your staff training records are up to date so you know when refresher courses will be required.

When creating training records, each staff member should have their own file. It should detail when their training was carried out, and an accurate description of the course contents. This is a requirement of the MHOR 1992 regulations.

What is Manual Handling?

Manual handling is any task that involves handling objects. This is not only about lifting and carrying. It also refers to lowering, pulling, pushing, holding, restraining, throwing or handling.

75% of injuries caused by manual lifting could be prevented by using better manual handling techniques. In the food and drinks industry, manual handling and lifting causes 30% of all acute injuries.

General Guidelines for Lifting

There are general guidelines – or maximum weights – for men and women. If applying these, no man should attempt to lift anything heavier than 25kg and a woman’s maximum limit is 16kg.

But it’s important to take into account other factors which can change the maximum safe weight – such as how high an object will need to be lifted.

If lifting above shoulder height (stocking high shelves for example) men should not lift items heavier than 10kg and women, 7kg – but this maximum weight drops yet again for objects that need to be held away from the body – 5kg for men and 3kg for women.

Employers should carry out risk assessments for all lifting since the safe limit depends on so many variables such as the individual involved, the height that you will be lifting and the distance you will be required to carry the object.

Never assume that because a larger workmate can lift an object without injury that it is a safe weight for you to attempt. Everyone is a different size and we all differ in body strength.

When You Should Take Extra Care:

  • Stacking items above shoulder height
  • Carrying items up or down stairs
  • Carrying items for long distances
  • Lifting in a small work space – this could mean you have to twist or stoop

Things to Check:

  • Is the weight of the item within your physical capability?
  • Have you been given reasonable rest periods between manual lifting tasks?
  • Is there adequate space to lift safely?
  • Is lifting fairly shared between employees?

If you believe you are risking injury through manual lifting, ask your employer to undertake a Risk Assessment. It usually takes only a few minutes but it can reduce the chances of injury. (If your employer does not seem concerned about the issue, you could point out that all employers have responsibilities to their workers under manual handling regulations introduced in 1992.)

Finally, if you do suffer an injury or feel ANY pain while Lifting or Handling an object, stop immediately and speak to your employer. Make sure that the incident is recorded because it could be some hours later before you realize the true extent of the damage.

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