We believe that manual handling injuries at work is worthy of a separate mention because back injuries are one of the most common causes of time off work and historically have been a frequent cause of personal injury claims.

If you are reading this page, you should also refer to:-

  • Accidents at Work
  • Negligence/General Liability

A manual handling injury is any lifting/lowering/pushing or pulling injury caused by the application of bodily force to a load or object.  Injuries can occur mainly to the back, but also to the arms shoulders and legs.

The main source of the law on such work accidents is the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992.

An employer is required to risk assess manual handling tasks.  A risk is presumed to arise when the load exceeds the loads in the table below:-

Women Close to Body At arm’s length

Shoulder height 7kg 3kg
Elbow height 13kg 7kg
Hip/waist height 16kg 10kg
Leg height 13kg 7kg
At ankle height 7kg 3kg

Men

Shoulder height 10g 5kg
Elbow height 20kg 10kg
Hip/waist height 25kg 15kg
Leg height 20kg 10kg
At ankle height 10g 5kg

This is the initial guideline filter.  If the load being moved exceeds the limits, a more detailed risk assessment is required and the tasks must either be avoided, the risks reduced if it cannot be avoided and the employee properly trained if the risks can be reduced no lower.

Back injury claims frequently give rise to complicated arguments on the precise cause of the injury and financial loss, where medical evidence reveals age-related wear and tear in an employee’s spine.

We are familiar with running manual handling claims.  If you think you may need assistance with these, it makes sense to talk to us first before deciding what to do next.