Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007
Risk Factors for Manual Handling of Loads
1. Characteristics of the load
The manual handling of a load may present a risk particularly of back injury if it is:
too heavy or too large,
unwieldy or difficult to grasp,
unstable or has contents likely to shift,
positioned in a manner requiring it to be held or manipulated at a distance from the trunk, or with a bending or twisting of the trunk, or
likely, because of its contours or consistency (or both), to result in injury to employees, particularly in the event of a collision.
2. Physical effort required
A physical effort may present a risk particularly of back injury if it is:
only achieved by a twisting movement of the trunk,
likely to result in a sudden movement of the load, or
made with the body in an unstable posture.
3. Characteristics of the working environment
The characteristics of the working environment may increase a risk particularly of back injury if:
there is not enough room, in particular vertically, to carry out the activity,
the floor is uneven, thus presenting tripping hazards, or is slippery in relation to the employee’s footwear,
the place of work or the working environment prevents the handling of loads at a safe height or with good posture by the employee,
there are variations in the level of the floor or the working surface, requiring the load to be manipulated on different levels,
the floor or foot rest is unstable, or
the temperature, humidity or ventilation is unsuitable.
4. Requirements of the activity
The activity may present a risk particularly of back injury if it entails one or more of the following requirements:
over-frequent or over prolonged physical effort involving in particular the spine,
an insufficient bodily rest or recovery period,
excessive lifting, lowering or carrying distances, or
a rate of work imposed by a process which cannot be altered by the employee.
5. Individual Risk Factors
The employee may be at risk if he or she:
is physically unsuited to carry out the task in question,
is wearing unsuitable clothing, footwear or other personal effects, or
does not have adequate or appropriate knowledge or training.