Lifting & Handling Injuries at Work

When lifting and handling at work is carried out correctly, injuries can occur and can lead to long term damage.

Injuries When Lifting & Handling at Work

We believe that manual handling injuries at work are 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 and 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.

Employers Responsibility to Keep You Safe at Work

By law, employers have a responsibility to protect workers from accidents and injuries in the workplace, with effective manual handling training helping to prevent the number of injuries recorded.

Employers are required to provide sufficient manual handling training to ensure workers are aware of the correct way to lift, pick up, put down, push, pull, move or support an object. This can be done on a daily, regular or occasional basis, depending on how much time their staff members spend on manual handling tasks. Where required, employers should also provide moving and handling equipment and carry out manual handling risk assessments before work starts to pre-empt any foreseeable accidents.

The Responsibility of Employers

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:-

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
Close to Body At arm’s length
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.

Understanding Manual Handling Claims

It is your employer’s obligation and duty to make sure workers have a safe environment to conduct their business meaning they will provide the right equipment and training with regards to handling procedures. If they fail to do this, it will strengthen your case for compensation if you suffer a manual handling injury.

Causes of Manual Handling Accidents

Along with lifting heavy items, pushing, carrying and lowering items, here are some other issues that can lead to manual handling accidents:

Not Enough Breaks – If you have little or no break period during a prolonged period of physical activity.

Slips and Falls – Handling objects in a slippery environment increases the chances of a slip or tripping accident. This could be the result of spillages, adverse weather or other hazardous materials.

Lack of Equipment – When lifting heavy objects you may be provided with specific equipment such as a forklift truck. If this is not provided you are putting yourself at an increased danger from injury.

How Employees Can Claim

As an employee, it’s important to remember you have a legal right to claim compensation for a manual handling accident.

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 is designed to ensure that employers are not placed in dangerous, risky or hazardous environments, including providing manual handling regulations. If your employer, the building owner or the equipment supplier has breached these regulations it could strengthen your compensation claim after an accident.

Long Term Effects

Injuries caused by manual handling accidents have the ability to cause damage in the present but also could have a long term effect on your health. Some examples of this include:

  • Constant pain and suffering from the injury
  • Psychological damage
  • Physical damage leading to changing the way you live your life
  • Reduced earning potential
  • Inability to continue with your professional career

These factors will be considered when it’s time to determine the amount of compensation the claimant will receive. If the injuries are seen as short term, then the amount of compensation will be lower. This is why it’s important to get the correct diagnosis of any long-term health issues from your accident.

Understanding Liability Insurance

According to the law, employers are required to have Employers Liability Insurance coverage to pay compensation claims for personal injuries or illness suffered by workers as the result of negligence or fault by the employer.

If inadequate or insufficient manual handling training has been provided to workers, or an accident has occurred due to a fault or negligence by the employer then a personal injury claim can be made.

If your claim is successful then compensation is paid out by the Employers Liability Insurance Company and not by the employer, meaning you won’t need to worry about suing your employer when making the claim.


Speak to our Personal Injury Solicitors to Start your Claim

To find out more about making a claim as a result of a handling or lifting related injury – speak to our personal injury solicitors for advice and a consultation meeting.

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.