Manual Handling Competence

The University expects all heads of departments to ensure all members of the department, be that staff, students or visitors, are sufficiently able to identify manual handling hazards, manage the associated risks and understand when additional competent advice and support is required.

The following elements are key to achieving this standard: 


All those involved in manual handling or lifting operations where a risk assessment has identified a significant risk must have received suitable training and assessment to ensure they are able to lift in a safe and appropriate manner.

The University Safety Office provides an ‘Introduction to Manual Handling’ course.  This introduction to manual handling hazards covers such topics as legal requirements, typical injuries & causes, principles of safe lifting, risk factors, practical lifting techniques, use of lifting & mechanical aids, and team lifting exercises.  Anyone involved in manual handling operations where a detailed risk assessment exists should attend.  There is no specific timeframe for refresher training, but this should be considered as part of the risk assessment.




Where a departmental manual handling assessor has been appointed, they must be trained in the process of risk assessment and the hierarchy of controls for manual handling.

The University Safety Office provides a ‘Manual Handling Risk Assessment’ training course.  This is an interactive session that examines the manual handling assessment process in detail.  Heads of department are expected to identify an individual to act as a manual handling assessor.  These appointed persons must attend this training.  Any supervisor who oversees a number of differing manual handling operations that require detailed risk assessments should also attend.  Newly appointed manual handling assessors should attend both the introductory and risk assessment courses, thereafter refresher training for the risk assessment course is recommended as at least once every 5 years.

Guidance Documents