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A Guide To Safe Lifting & Shifting

Under the 1992 Manual Handling Regulations, employers (and the self-employed) now have a duty to improve safety at work by avoiding hazardous manual handling operations - lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling and carrying - so far as is reasonably practicable and by taking reasonable steps to reduce the risk of injury from those operations for which there is no sensible, practical alternative.

In many cases, this requires little more than common sense backed up by good lifting practice.

However, mechanical aids carried in the We Hire range will make the task at hand safer and easier to achieve.

The Good Lifting Guide


  • Work out the best way to do the job in advance
  • Divide the job into easy stages if possible
  • Wear sensible, protective clothing and footwear
  • Stand with your feet apart and leading leg comfortable forward
  • Keep you back straight and shoulders parallel to your hips
  • Get a good, firm, comfortable grip on the load
  • Lift smoothly, using your leg muscles as much as possible
  • Keep the load as close to your body as you can
  • Move your feet rather than twist your body
  • Change grip smoothly where necessary
  • Beware of unstable or unpredictable loads
  • Allow yourself plenty of time to rest and recover


  • Take chances - if in doubt get help
  • Twist, stoop or reach upwards
  • Lift loads through large vertical distances
  • Carry loads for long distances
  • Handle hot, sharp or otherwise intrinsically dangerous loads without protection
  • Put other people in the vicinity at risk


Some people are stronger than others. An easy job for one person may be too much for another. Even very light loads can injure if moved repeatedly, particularly if the pace is forced by production lines - for example operations normally deemed safe can be made hazardous by - adverse weather, extreme temperatures, poor lighting, uneven ground or steps and slopes.

Ask us for your copy of the Health and Safety Executive publication "Getting to Grips with Manual Handling".


S.W.L. (Safe Working Load): the maximum load equipment is designed to handle.

H.O.L. (Height Of Lift): the maximum lifting height of equipment.

Measurements: unless otherwise stated, measurements are in millimetres linear and kilograms weight.