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Friday, June 2, 2017

Pushing and pulling

The guideline weights are for infrequent operations – up to about 30 operations per hour – where the pace of work is not forced, adequate pauses to rest or use different muscles are possible, and the load is not supported by the handler for any length of time. Reduce the weights if the operation is repeated more often. As a rough guide, reduce the weights by 30% if the operation is repeated once or twice a minute, by 50% if it is repeated 5–8 times a minute, and by 80% where it is repeated more than 12 times a minute.

Pushing and pulling

The task is within the guidelines if the figures in Table 2 are not exceeded:

See ‘Good handling technique for pushing and pulling’ for some examples of forces required to push or pull loads. Using the results: Do I need to make a more detailed assessment?

Using Figure 1 is a first step. If it shows the manual handling is within the guideline figures (bearing in mind the reduced limits for twisting and frequent lifts) you do not need to do any more in most cases. But you will need to make a more detailed

assessment if:

the conditions given for using the guidelines (eg that the load can be readily grasped with both hands) are not met; the person doing the lifting has reduced capacity, eg through ill health or pregnancy; the handling operation must take place with the hands beyond the boxes in the diagram; or the guideline figures in the diagram are exceeded. For pushing and pulling, you should make a more detailed assessment if: there are extra risk factors like uneven floors or constricted spaces;

the worker can’t push or pull the load with their hands between knuckle and shoulder height; the load has to be moved for more than about 20 m without a break; or

the guideline figures in Table 2 are likely to be exceeded. See the HSE guidance Manual handling (see ‘Further reading’) for more advice on how to make a more detailed assessment. HSE has also developed a tool called the Manual Handling Assessment Chart (MAC), to help you assess the most common risk factors in lifting, carrying and team handling. You may find the MAC useful to help identify high-risk manual handling operations and to help complete detailed risk assessments. It can be downloaded.

Does this mean I mustn’t exceed the guidelines?

No. The risk assessment guidelines are not ‘safe limits’ for lifting. But work outside the guidelines is likely to increase the risk of injury, so you should examine the task closely for possible improvements. You should remember that you must make the work less demanding, if it is reasonably practicable to do so.

Your main duty is to avoid lifting operations that have a risk of injury. Where it is not practicable to do this, assess each lifting operation and reduce the risk of injury to the lowest level reasonably practicable. Look carefully at higher risk operations to make sure they have been properly assessed.

Further reading

the full text of the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (as amended in 2002) with detailed advice on each regulation; guidelines for assessing risk while lifting, carrying, pushing and pulling, and handling while seated; practical advice on measures to reduce the risk of injury; and an example of an assessment checklist. Manual handling: Solutions you can handle HSG115 HSE Books

Getting to grips with hoisting You can view HSE guidance online and order priced publications from the website. HSE priced publications are also available from bookshops.

This guidance is issued by the Health and Safety Executive. Following the guidance is not compulsory, unless specifically stated, and you are free to take other action. But if you do follow the guidance you will normally be doing enough to comply with the law. Health and safety inspectors seek to secure compliance.