manual handling claim

Manual Handling Claim: Compensation For Injury At Work Whilst Lifting, Pushing, Pulling Or Carrying Objects

Find out what a manual handling claim for compensation is; claim as an employee, contractor or self-employed individual; how your solicitor shows your injury was at work; proving your employer was legally at fault; typical manual handling injuries with compensation payout calculator; duty on workers to take care; claiming despite employee carelessness; special rules for healthcare workers; how to claim compensation for injury and specialist solicitor free online help.

Table of Contents

What is a manual handling claim?

If you suffer injury as a result of manual handling at work and your employer can be shown to be legally at fault – you may have a manual handling claim for compensation.

Manual handling is specifically defined as: “any transporting or supporting of a load (including the lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving thereof) by hand or by bodily force.”

Types of load that you can handle at work

A load – can be any object whether that is a box, a crate, tools, etc. or living objects such as people, animals, etc.

Different types of manual handling stress your body differently

Each type of manual handling can exert different levels of pressures on your body.

For example – lifting a load from ground height or above head height are known to exert more pressure on the body and so a greater risk of injury. Carrying a load over longer distances or whilst twisting – can cause added risk of injury. Pushing and pulling heavy objects up and down slopes or around bends can add increased pressure on your body.

Manual handling must take place at work

The manual handling needs to have taken place during work.

Duty to employees, contractors and self-employed

The employer owing a duty to employees or in some instances to a contractor or self-employed individual (the test for the self-employed and contractors will often depend on who had control of the works that were being done, hours of work, provision of PPE, etc.).

To have a manual handling claim your solicitor will have prove that your injury occurred whilst manual handling at work; your injury was caused by the manual handling; your injury was due to employer negligence and/or breach of statutory duty.

Looking at each element in turn:

Your injury occurred whilst manual handling at work

See our article proving that your injury happened at work for our explanation of how your solicitor can show your injury occurred at work.

Your injury was caused by the manual handling

You might expect back injuries, shoulder pain, hernias, wrist problems, etc.. However, you would not expect to get bladder cancer from lifting a box.

You may have a pre-existing problem that was caused by a car crash and not manual handling.

Your injury must relate to the manual handling activity

In other words – your injury must be related to the manual handling task itself not an unrelated injury that occurred by chance whilst manual handling or existed prior to the manual handling procedure.

Showing the extent of your manual handling injury

To show the extent and cause of your injury – your solicitor will obtain an independent medical expert report.

This medical expert would be of an expertise dependent on your injury type.

For example – for a broken shoulder an orthopaedic expert would likely be used for your manual handling claim.

This expert will examine you and your medical notes – including your medical history for relevant entries.

Be careful of pre-existing and past medical problems

Imagine your suffered a back injury – the medical expert would see what was reported to your doctors, the diagnosis and treatment as well as past problems with your back (to see if there could have been any pre-existing back problems or degeneration of your spine).

Medical expert opinion

The medical expert will give an opinion on the nature of your injuries, the cause and likely duration until recovery or ongoing disability or weakness.

The injury was caused due to employer negligence and/or breach of statutory duty

There are some very important laws that define the obligations on the employer when manual handling is undertaken at work: The Manual Handling Operation Regulations 1992 as amended by The Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2002

Risk assessments and maximum weights for men and women

These laws define how manual handling should be completed at work; the duty on employers to risk assess manual handling tasks and maximum weights that should be lifted by men and women from different positions.

Use a machine to avoid manual handling

An employer should avoid asking workers to do manual handling if possible and use a machine – so far as is reasonable.

Weight of objects should be limited

If manual handling is necessary – the weight of the objects should be limited (breaking them down into smaller objects if possible); keeping the distance an object is moved to a minimum.

Types of movement to be avoided

Workers should avoid so far as possible lifting whilst twisting, lifting from ground level (stooping), lifting above head height (stretching) or lifting with arms outstretched, lifting whilst seated.

Sliding objects to be avoided

Objects that have weights that slide or shift should be avoided or limited – such as a box with a sliding metal tool inside.

Avoid pushing and pulling with force

Avoid pushing and pulling with force – straining yourself, such as pushing up a slope or on a wheeled device that has a faulty wheel.

warehouse worker manual handling injury
Warehouse Worker Manual Handling Injury

Avoid confined spaces, slippery objects and awkward shapes

Lifting in a small or confined space can be dangerous – as can lifting wet or slippery objects or objects with awkward shapes.

Avoid cluttered, slippery or cold workplaces

Avoiding lifting in workplaces that are cluttered or slippery, are hot or extremely cold.

Avoid manual handling in poor lighting or adverse weather

Manual handling should be avoided where the lighting is not sufficient or the weather conditions are adverse – such as extremely windy days.

Avoid handling dangerous objects

Objects required to be lifted are themselves dangerous should be avoided – such as toxic insecure chemicals, sharp packages, hot objects. Injury from which could cause injury and result in a manual handling claim.

Avoid constant quick lifting

Workers should be given adequate rest time to recover from constant lifting and the work rate should not be excessively high, such as quick constant lifting.

Avoid clothing or PPE that can hamper grip

Even how the worker is dressed may have a bearing – a worker may have to wear excessive PPE that could hamper your ability to grip (large gloves) or see (protective goggles).

Ensure specific relevant manual handling training

A worker should be given specific relevant training of how to do the manual handling tasks, so as to avoid injury – such as correct lifting techniques and postures to adopt.

Weights of objects should be provided to avoid surprise

The weights of objects should be provided to workers, so you can avoid being surprised as to how heavy an object might be and uneven loads (loads with a weight difference at either end) should be explained prior to lifting.

Safe system of work and foreseeable injuries avoidance

In addition to these guidelines – an employer can be found negligent if a safe system of work is not provided and foreseeable injuries not avoided.

Correct supervision of workers

This means that workers should be supervised – after a period of time you and your colleagues may forget the training and adopt improper lifting postures or pick up items that are too heavy. There could devices that should carry heavy items, such as pallet trucks, which are defective or unavailable, so workers start to carry items that are too heavy to get the job done.

How much can you claim for typical manual handling injuries?

The types of injury you might experience are many and the amount you can claim will depend on the nature of the injury and whether that injury causes financial loss (such as lost income) as well the extent of pain and suffering.

We have written a number of articles explaining how much compensation you can claim for various different manual handling injury claims, including:

Shoulder Injury compensation payouts, back injury claims, neck injury amounts, wrist injury claims, finger injuries, arm injuries, leg injuries and head injuries.

We have a general guide of compensation amounts for all body parts setting out alphabetically each body part with calculations of how much you can claim.

Remember multiple injuries of different body parts do not typically just have their compensation amounts added together for each body part.

Is there a duty on workers to look after their own safety?

Yes – you have a duty to look after your own safety when at work and so far as possible use what you have been taught (for example about safe lifting techniques).

You should avoid what you have been warned as dangerous (for example weights have been broken down as lighter yet you  choose to pick up more than one weight at a time).

Claiming despite your own carelessness

However – employees can be careless and still be able to make a claim against an employer as employer’s should guard for carelessness and supervise to ensure that bad practices are not accepted in the workplace.

Are there special considerations for health care workers?

Yes – there are some special considerations for healthcare workers, such as nurses, doctors, etc.

Healthcare workers should consider the patient’s needs

Although the basic principles are the same for any workplace – healthcare workers have to also consider the patient needs and may themselves have to make assessments of risk given a certain situation that might have developed.

Heavy patients moved with lifting devices

Often nurses may need to move heavy patients using lifting devices and separate regulations are applicable to lifting operations and lifting equipment.

How do you claim compensation for a manual handling or other work injury?

See our accident at work compensation claims process guide that sets out the process to claim compensation for all manner of injuries at work including a manual handling claim.

Our Specialist Solicitor Free Online And Telephone Help

See our online / telephone specialist solicitor free help options to work injury victims. You can choose from a number of free help options, including – asking your own legal question, having your claim assessed and speaking direct to our solicitors for immediate help.