The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 form important reading for any employer, as does the accompanying Guidance on Regulations, also known as L23.

L23 was revised in autumn 2016. Restructured into four parts, the regulations and brief guidance now appear in Part 1, with more detailed guidance on carrying out risk assessments and control risks in Parts 2 to 4. The guidance explains how to avoid, assess and reduce the risk of injury from manual handling and new, helpful colour coding helps to identify the different parts.

The key messages within the guidance are that employers are required to comply with the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992, as amended by the Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2002. In other words, to avoid hazardous manual handling operations so far as is reasonably practicable; to assess any hazardous manual handling operations that cannot be avoided and to reduce the risk of injury so far as is reasonably practicable.

Key amendments to the guidance

Risk filters have now been added to the guidance. These help to identify tasks that do not need a detailed risk assessment. There is also an explanation of how the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) assessment tools can be used to assist with the assessment process.

The guidance has also been amended to bring in changes for the self-employed following the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (General Duties of Self-Employed Persons) (Prescribed Undertakings) Regulations 2015 and the Deregulation Act 2015 (Health and Safety at Work) (General Duties of Self-Employed Persons) (Consequential Amendments) Order 2015.

HSE guidance on team handling has also been revised with the percentage of individual capacity people are expected to work at when there is more than one person involved in the task amended.

The importance of staying up to date

Whenever there is a change to important guidance, it highlights how essential it is to keep up to date with training. Changes take time to filter through to employers, but professional manual handling trainers will be aware of recent updates to legislation and guidance the minute it happens.

For organisations with their own in-house manual handling trainers, the importance of keeping their skills up to date with regular refresher training cannot be over-emphasised, and of course, this training must then filter down to the handlers themselves.

Choosing the right manual handling training courses

Whilst the HSE itself does not publish its own guidance on what a ‘good’ manual handling training course should include, or how long it should last, it does say that courses should be “Suitable for the individual, tasks and environment involved, use relevant examples, relate to what workers actually do and last long enough to cover all the relevant information.”

It also says that such information is likely to include advice on “manual handling risk factors and how injuries can occur; how to carry out safe manual handling, including good handling technique; appropriate systems of work for the individual’s task and environment; safe use of lifting and handling aids and practical work to allow the trainer to identify and put right anything the trainee is not doing safely.”

At Alistair Bromhead Ltd, all our manual handling training courses, including our manual handler half-day course and our Manual Handling Train the Trainer: City & Guilds Accredited Programme, comply with the above HSE points. Our Train the Trainer course is the original programme which we have been delivering for 15 years. It is a tried and tested approach with an established reputation and the course content has been extensively refined over the years.

For more information on our range of manual handling courses call 0800 710 1099 or email