manual handling claim

Manual Handling Claim: The steps to making a claim for injury at work whilst lifting, pushing, pulling or carrying objects

Find out what a manual handling claim for compensation is; employee; contractor or self-employed claims; 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.

What is a manual handling claim?

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.”

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

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.

The manual handling needs to have taken place during work. 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.).

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.

How does your solicitor show your employer is legally at fault for your manual handling injury?

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. You would not however 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.

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.

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.

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).

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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 – straining yourself, such as pushing up a slope or on a wheeled device that has a faulty wheel.

defective pallet truck manual handling claim

Defective Pallet Truck Manual; Handling Injury

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

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

Avoid manual handling where the lighting is not sufficient or the weather conditions are adverse – such as extremely windy days.

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.

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.

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).

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. 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.

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. 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.

What types of injury could you experience whilst manual handling and how much could you claim for each type of injury?

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 you as an employee?

“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) and 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).

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.

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.

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.

Remember – we offer online and specialist solicitor free help to work injury victims.