– A Summary of Relevant Legislation and Guidance
This article summarises key aspects of legislation and guidance relevant to manual handling in the workplace for healthcare personnel.
As with all other work based activities, manual handling should be considered in respect of its health and safety implications for employees and other users of the work environment. In the United Kingdom, manual handling in the workplace is subject to legislation, the implementation of which is addressed through a number of Government bodies. In addition, guidance for healthcare practitioners is available from various professional bodies.
There are five key areas of legislation that encompass manual handling at work.
These are the Health and Safety at Work Act (HASAW) 1974; Management of
Health and Safety at Work Regulations (MHSAW) 1992; Manual Handling
Operations Regulations (revised 1998)(MHOR) 1992; Provision and Use of Work
Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) and Lifting Operation and Lifting
Equipment Regulations (LOLER) 1998.
The legislation places responsibility on both employers and employees in various aspects of work practice, equipment provision and use. These may be summarised as follows:
The Health and Safety at Work Act (HASAW) 1974
Employers must (sec. 2)
! ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees and others affected by the workplace
! provide and maintain plant and safe systems of work
! ensure safety in the collection, use storage and transport of loads and substances ! provide information, instruction, training and supervision of employees
! maintain a safe workplace, access and egress
! maintain a safe and healthy working environment
Employees must (sec. 7)
! take reasonable care for the health and safety of himself and others affected by his acts or omissions at work
! co-operate and
References: Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (1998) Moving and Handling for Chartered Physiotherapists London: CSP College of Occupational Therapists (1995) Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 and their Application within Occupational Therapy London: COT Commission of European Communities (1989a) Council Directive 89/391/EEC on 183/1-9 Commission of European Communities (1989b) Council Directive 89/654/EEC on the workplace Brussels: Official Journal of the European Communities No. L 393 Commission of European Communities (1989c) Council Directive 89/655/EEC on Commission of European Communities (1990) Council Directive 90/269/EEC on the minimum health and safety requirements for the manual handling of loads Health and Safety Executive (1992a) The Management of Health and Safety at work Regulations London: HMSO Health and Safety Executive (1992b) The Manual Handling Operations Regulations London: HMSO Health and Safety Executive (1992c) Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 – Guidance on Regulations London: HMSO Health and Safety Executive (1992d) Workplace Health and Safety Welfare Regulations 1992 – Guidance on Regulations London: HMSO Health and Safety Executive (1998a) Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations London: HMSO Health and Safety Executive (1998b) Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 – Approved Code of Practice London: HMSO Health and Safety Executive (1998c) Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations London: HMSO Health and Safety Executive (1998d) Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 – Guidance on Regulations London: HMSO Health Services Advisory Committee (1998) Manual handling in the health services London: HSE The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 London: HMSO Royal College of Midwives (1999) Handle with care – a midwife’s guide to preventing back injury London: RCM Royal College of Nursing (1999) RCN Code of Practice for Patient Handling London: RCN Society of Radiographers (1994) Watch Your Back! London: SoR