Manual Handling Solutions for Farms (HSE AS23)

Good handling technique

This is no substitute for other risk-reduction steps such as lifting aids, improving the task, load or working environment. Good technique is a valuable addition to other risk-control measures but it requires training and practice, and should be tailored to the particular handling operations being carried out.

This advice is relevant to a lift using both hands that takes place in front of and close to the body:

  • Stop and think. Plan the lift. Use handling aids. Remove obstructions.
  • Keep the load close to the waist.
  • Adopt a stable position.
  • Ensure a good hold on the load.
  • Bend the back, hips and knees slightly at the start of the lift. This is preferable to either fully flexing the back (stooping) or fully flexing the hips and knees (full/deep squatting).
  • Don't flex the back any further when lifting.
  • Avoid twisting the back or leaning sideways.
  • Keep the head up when handling.
  • Move smoothly.
  • Don't lift or handle more than can be easily managed.
  • Put down, then adjust.
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