Manual handling assessment charts (the MAC tool)

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1 Manual handling assessment charts (the MC tool) Introduction Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), including manual handling injuries, are the most common type of occupational ill health in the UK. It is important to remember that: there is a lot you can do to prevent them; preventative measures are often simple and cost-effective; you cannot prevent all MSDs, but where they occur, early reporting of symptoms, proper treatment and suitable rehabilitation are essential. This is a web-friendly version of leaflet IND8(rev), published 6/4 The Manual Handling ssessment Charts (MC) is a tool aimed at employers, health and safety managers and safety reatives and is used by health and safety inspectors. The tool will help individuals to assess the most common risk factors in lifting (and lowering), carrying and team handling operations and was developed to identify high-risk manual handling. What does the law say? The Manual Handling Operations egulations 99 set out a clear hierarchy of measures for dealing with risk likely to cause harm from manual handling. These are: avoid hazardous manual handling operations so far as reasonably practicable; assess any manual handling operations that cannot be avoided; reduce the risk of injury to as low as reasonably practicable. Structure of the MC There are three types of assessment that can be carried out with the MC: lifting operations (pages 6); carrying operations (pages 7 ); team handling operations (pages ). For each type of assessment there is an assessment guide and a flow chart. There is a score sheet (the MC: Score sheet ) to complete on page 4. Note The MC is not appropriate for some manual handling operations, for example those that involve pushing and pulling. Its use does not comprise a full risk assessment (see Manual handling in Further reading ). lways consider individual and psychosocial issues when completing the MC: Score sheet. lso, the MC is not designed to assess risks associated with workplace upper limb disorders (see Upper limb disorders in the workplace and ssessment of epetitive Tasks of the upper limbs (the T tool) in Further reading ). Page of 5

2 How to complete a MC assessment = EEN - Low level of risk lthough the risk is low, consider the exposure levels for vulnerable groups such as pregnant women or young workers, where appropriate. = MBE - Medium level of risk Examine tasks closely. = ED - High level of risk Prompt action needed. This may expose a significant proportion of the working population to risk of injury. P = PUPLE - Very high level of risk Such operations may re a serious risk of injury and should come under close scrutiny, particularly when the entire weight of the load is supported by one person. Spend some time observing the task (videoing may help) to ensure that what you are seeing is reative of normal working procedures. You should involve your employees and safety reatives during the assessment process. Where several people do the same task, make sure you have some insight into the demands of the job from all employees perspective. Select the appropriate type of assessment (ie lifting, carrying or team handling). If a task involves lifting and carrying, consider both. Follow the appropriate assessment guide and flow chart to determine the level of risk for each risk factor. Information on risk reduction can be found on the HSE website at and in the HSE publication Manual handling at work (see Further reading ). Enter the colour band and corresponding numerical score on the MC: Score sheet. The colour bands help determine which elements of the task require attention. Enter the remaining task information and use the scores to help identify which risk factors need to be examined and the total level of exposure to risk. If the individual does a number of tasks, assess each one separately and prioritise action to address the highest scoring task. Further guidance on using the MC tool can be accessed online at emember The purpose of the assessment is to identify and then reduce the overall level of risk of the task. Manual handling assessment charts (the MC tool) Page of 5

3 ssessment guide for lifting operations Load weight/frequency Note the weight of the load and the repetition rate of the lifting operation. Take note of the risk banding from the graph below and enter the colour band and numerical score onto the MC: Score sheet. If the colour band is purple, the task should be examined very closely, as such operations may re a serious risk of injury and should come under close scrutiny, particularly when the entire weight of the load is supported by one person. Note: High frequency handling operations of light weights will fall within the green zone, but may be associated with upper limb problems. Please refer to Upper limb disorders in the workplace and ssessment of epetitive Tasks of the upper limbs (the T tool) (see Further reading ) for advice on further assessment. Load weight/frequency graph for lifting operations 5 P= 5 Weight of load (kg) 4 =6 =4 4 = One lift per day minutes () 5 minutes () minutes () minute (6) 4 seconds (5) 9 seconds (4) 5 seconds (7) One lift every (lifts per hour) Manual handling assessment charts (the MC tool) Page of 5

4 B Hand distance from the lower back Observe the task and examine the horizontal distance between the operative s hands and their lower back. lways assess the worst case scenario. Use the following to guide your assessment: Close: Upper arms aligned vertically and upright torso / Moderate: Upper arms angled away from body / Moderate: Torso bent forward / Far: Upper arms angled away from body and torso bent forward /6 C Vertical lift region Observe the position of the operative s hands at the start of the lift and as the lift progresses. lways assess the worst case scenario. Use the following illustrations as a guide: bove knee and/or below elbow height / Below knee and/or Floor level t head height above elbow height or below or above / / D and sideways bending Observe the operative s torso as the load is lifted. If the torso twists in relation to the hips and thighs or the operative leans to one side as the load is lifted, the colour band is amber and the numerical score is. If the torso both twists and bends to the side as the load is lifted the colour band is red and the numerical score is. Little or no torso twisting or sideways bending / or sideways bending / and sideways bending / Manual handling assessment charts (the MC tool) Page 4 of 5

5 E Postural constraints If the movements of the operative are unhindered, the colour band is green and the numerical score is. If the operative adopts restricted postures during the lift because of the space available (eg a narrow gap between pallet load and hopper) or the workstation design (eg an excessively high monorail conveyor), the colour band is amber and the numerical score is. If the posture is severely restricted, the colour band is red and the numerical score is (eg work in confined areas such as baggage holds). No postural constraints / estricted posture / Severely restricted posture / F rip on the load ood grip / Containers with welldesigned handles or handholds, fit for purpose Loose parts enabling comfortable grip easonable grip / Containers with poor handles or handholds Fingers to be clamped at 9 degrees under the container Poor grip / Containers of poor design. Loose parts, irregular objects, bulky or difficult to handle Non-rigid sacks or unpredictable loads Floor surface Dry and clean floor in good condition / Dry floor but in poor condition, worn or uneven / Contaminated/wet or steep sloping floor or unstable surface or unsuitable footwear / H Other environmental factors Observe the work environment and score if the lifting operation takes place: in extremes of temperature; with strong air movements; or in extreme lighting conditions (too dark or bright). If one of the risk factors is score, if two or more of the risk factors are score. No factors One factor Two or more factors / / / Manual handling assessment charts (the MC tool) Page 5 of 5

6 Lifting operation Please insert the colour and NOTE THE COLOU ND NUMEICL numerical SCOE scores on the ND INSET ON SCOE SHEET MC: Score sheet Load weight/ frequency (see graph on p) See graph on p See graph on p See graph on p 5 kg or more 4 6 P H Other environmental factors No factors One factor Two or more factors B Hand distance from lower back Close: upper arms vertical/torso upright Moderate: upper arms angled or torso bent forward Far: upper arms angled and torso bent forward 6 Floor surface Dry and in good condition Dry but in poor condition or uneven Contaminated, wet, sloping or unstable C Vertical lift region bove knee and/or below elbow height Below knee and/or above elbow height Floor level or below and/or above head height F rip on the load ood easonable Poor D and sideways bending Little or no torso twisting or sideways bending or sideways bending and sideways bending E Postural constraints None estricted Severely restricted Manual handling assessment charts (the MC tool) Page 6 of 5

7 ssessment guide for carrying operations Load weight/frequency Note the weight of the load and the frequency of the carrying operation. Take note of the risk banding on the graph below and enter the colour band and numerical score on the MC: Score sheet. If the colour band is purple the task should be examined very closely, as such operations may re a serious risk of injury and should come under close scrutiny, particularly when the entire weight of the load is carried by one person. Load weight/frequency graph for carrying operations 5 P= 5 Weight of load (kg) 4 =6 =4 4 = One carry per day minutes () 5 minutes () minutes () minute (6) seconds () One carry every (carries per hour) B Hand distance from the lower back Observe the task and examine the horizontal distance between the operative s hands and their lower back. lways assess the worst case scenario. Use the following illustrations to guide your assessment: Close: Upper arms aligned vertically and upright torso / Moderate: Upper arms angled away from body / Moderate: Torso bent forward / Far: Upper arms angled away from body and torso bent forward /6 Manual handling assessment charts (the MC tool) Page 7 of 5

8 C symmetrical torso/load The operative s posture and the stability of the load are risk factors associated with musculoskeletal injury. The following illustrations should guide your assessment. Load and hands symmetrical in front of the torso / Load and hands asymmetrical, upright body position / One handed carrying to the individual s side / D Postural constraints If the operative s movements are unhindered, the colour band is green and the numerical score is. If the operative adopts restricted postures during the carry (eg a narrow doorway making the operative turn or move the load to get through) the colour band is amber and the numerical score is. If the posture is severely restricted, the colour band is red and the numerical score is (eg carrying loads in a forward bent posture in areas with low ceilings such as cellars). No postural constraints / estricted posture / Severely restricted posture / E rip on load ood grip / Containers with welldesigned handles or handholds, fit for purpose Loose parts enabling comfortable grip easonable grip / Containers with poor handles or handholds Fingers to be clamped at 9 degrees under the container Poor grip / Containers of poor design. Loose parts, irregular objects, bulky or difficult to handle Non-rigid sacks or unpredictable loads F Floor surface Dry and clean floor in good condition / Dry floor but in poor condition, worn or uneven / Contaminated/wet or steep sloping floor or unstable surface or unsuitable footwear / Other environmental factors Observe the work environment and score if the carrying operation takes place: in extremes of temperature; with strong air movements; or in extreme lighting conditions (dark, bright or poor contrast). If one of the risk factors is score, if two or more of the risk factors are score. No factors One factor Two or more factors / / / Manual handling assessment charts (the MC tool) Page 8 of 5

9 H Carry distance Observe the task and estimate the total distance that the load is carried (not the distance as the crow flies ). m 4 m 4 m m m or more / / / I Obstacles en route Observe the route. If the operator has to carry a load up a steep slope, up steps, through closed doors or around tripping hazards, the colour band is amber and the numerical score is. If the task involves carrying the load up ladders, enter (red) for the colour band and for the numerical score. If the task involves more than one of the risk factors (eg a steep slope and then up ladders) total the scores on the score sheet. Enter the ladder height data and/or the angle in the task description box on the score sheet. No obstacles and carry route is flat / Steep slope or up steps or through closed doors or trip hazards / Ladders / Manual handling assessment charts (the MC tool) Page 9 of 5

10 Carrying operation Please insert the colour and numerical scores on the MC: Score sheet Load weight/ frequency (see graph on p7) B Hand distance from lower back C symmetrical torso/load D Postural constraints See graph on p7 See graph on p7 See graph on p7 5 kg or more Load symmetrical in front/two hands symmetrical or offset load/hands 4 6 P Close: upper arms vertical/torso upright Moderate: upper arms angled or torso bent forward Far: upper arms angled and torso bent forward 6 One-handed to side or twisting/ back bent None estricted Severely restricted I H F Obstacles en route Carry distance Other environmental factors Floor surface No obstacles and carry route is flat Steep slope or up steps or through closed doors or trip hazards Ladders m 4 m 4 m m m or more No factors One factor Two or more factors Dry and in good condition Dry but in poor condition or uneven Contaminated, wet, sloping or unstable E rip on the load ood easonable Poor Manual handling assessment charts (the MC tool) Page of 5

11 ssessment guide for team handling operations Load weight Note the weight of the load and the number of operatives performing the task. Enter the colour band and numerical score on the MC: Score sheet. If the colour band is purple the task should be examined very closely. Such operations may re a serious risk of injury and should come under close scrutiny, particularly when the entire weight of the load is supported by the team. person<5 kg person<4 kg person 5 5 kg person 4 75 kg 4 person 4 kg person 5 85 kg person 75 5 kg 4 person 7 kg person>85 kg person>5 kg 4 person>7 kg / /4 /6 P/ B Hand distance from the lower back Observe the task and examine the horizontal distance between each operative s hands and their lower back. lways assess the worst case scenario. Use the following illustrations to guide your assessment: Close: Upper arms aligned vertically and upright torso / Moderate: Torso bent forward or upper arms angled away from body / Far: Upper arms angled away from body and torso bent forward /6 C Vertical lift region Observe the position of the operatives hands at the start of the lift and as the lift progresses. lways assess the worst case scenario. Use the following illustrations as a guide: bove knee and/or below elbow height / Below knee and/or above elbow height / t head height or above, or floor level or below / Manual handling assessment charts (the MC tool) Page of 5

12 D and sideways bending Observe the operatives torsos as they lift the load. If the torso twists in relation to the hips and thighs or if the operatives lean to one side as the load is lifted, the colour band is amber and the numerical score is. If the torso both twists and bends to the side as the load is lifted, the colour band is red and the numerical score is. Little or no torso twisting or sideways bending / or sideways bending / and sideways bending / E Postural constraints If the movements of the operatives are unhindered, the colour band is green and the numerical score is. If the operatives adopt restricted postures during the lift because of the space available (eg narrow space between team members) or the workstation design (eg an excessively high monorail conveyor), the colour band is amber and the numerical score is. If the postures are severely restricted, the colour band is red and the numerical score is (eg work in confined areas such as baggage holds). No postural constraints / estricted posture / Severely restricted posture / F rip on load ood grip / Containers with welldesigned handles or handholds, fit for purpose Loose parts enabling comfortable grip easonable grip / Containers with poor handles or handholds Fingers to be clamped at 9 degrees under the container Poor grip / Containers of poor design. Loose parts, irregular objects, bulky or difficult to handle Non-rigid sacks or unpredictable loads Floor surface Dry and clean floor in good condition / Dry floor but in poor condition, worn or uneven / Contaminated/wet or steep sloping floor or unstable surface or unsuitable footwear / H Other environmental factors Observe the work environment and score if the lifting operation takes place: in extremes of temperature; with strong air movements; or in extreme lighting conditions (dark, bright or poor contrast). If one of the risk factors is score, if two or more of the risk factors are score. No factors One factor Two or more factors / / / I Communication, co-ordination and control Communication between the operatives is essential when lifting as part of a team. Examples of good communication would be that you may hear the operatives counting one, two, three etc before the lift. Look to see if the team have control of the load, that it is lifted smoothly, and that all members lift together. n unco-ordinated team lift may leave one member of the team bearing the entire weight. ood / easonable / Poor / Manual handling assessment charts (the MC tool) Page of 5

13 Team handling operation Please insert the colour and numerical scores on the MC: Score sheet Load weight B Hand distance from lower back C Vertical lift region D and sideways bending person < 5 kg person < 4 kg person 5 5 kg person 4 75 kg 4 person 4 kg 4 person 5 85 kg person 75 5 kg 4 person 7 kg 6 person >85 kg P person >5 kg 4 person >7 kg Close: upper arms vertical/torso upright Moderate: upper arms angled or torso bent forward Far: upper arms angled and torso bent forward 6 bove knee and/or below elbow height Below knee and/or above elbow height Floor level or below and/or above head height Little or no torso twisting or sideways bending or sideways bending and sideways bending I Communication, co-ordination and control H Other environmental factors F Floor surface rip on the load ood ESONBLE easonable Poor No factors One factor Two or more factors Dry and in good condition Dry but in poor condition or uneven Contaminated, wet, sloping or unstable OOD ood easonable Poor ood E Postural constraints None estricted Severely restricted Manual handling assessment charts (the MC tool) Page of 5

14 MC: Score sheet Company name: Task description: re there indications that the task is high risk? (Tick the appropriate boxes) Task has a history of manual handling incidents (eg company accident book, IDDO reports). Task is known to be hard work or high risk. Employees doing the work show signs that they are finding it hard work (eg breathing heavily, red-faced, sweating). Other indications, if so, what? Date: Signature: Insert the colour band and numerical score for each of the risk factors in the boxes below, referring to your assessment, using the tool. isk factors Colour band (,, or P) Numerical score Lift Carry Team Lift Carry Team Load weight and lift/carry frequency Hand distance from the lower back Vertical lift region /sideways bending symmetrical torso/load (carrying) Postural constraints rip on the load Floor surface Other environmental factors Carry distance Obstacles en route (carrying only) Communication and co-ordination (team handling only) Total score: Other risk factors: ecord individual and psychosocial factors etc (see website address on page 5) Manual handling assessment charts (the MC tool) Page 4 of 5

15 Further reading ssessment of epetitive Tasks of the upper limbs (the T tool): uidance for health and safety practitioners, consultants, ergonomists and large organisations Leaflet IND48 HSE Books Managing upper limb disorders in your business: brief guide for employers Leaflet IND7(rev) HSE Books Manual handling at work. brief guide Leaflet IND4(rev) HSE Books Manual handling. Manual Handling Operations egulations 99 (as amended). uidance on egulations L (Third edition) HSE Books 4 ISBN Upper limb disorders in the workplace HS6 (Second edition) HSE Books ISBN Further guidance on using the MC tool can be accessed online at Further information For information about health and safety, or to report inconsistencies or inaccuracies in this guidance, visit You can view HSE guidance online and order priced publications from the website. HSE priced publications are also available from bookshops. This guidance is issued by the Health and Safety. Following the guidance is not compulsory, unless specifically stated, and you are free to take other action. But if you do follow the guidance you will normally be doing enough to comply with the law. Health and safety inspectors seek to secure compliance with the law and may refer to this guidance. This leaflet is available at: Crown copyright If you wish to reuse this information visit copyright.htm for details. First published 6/4. Published by the Health and Safety 6/4 IND8(rev) Page 5 of 5

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