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Manual Handling | What Does TILE Stand For?

Updated: May 6

3 men manually handling boxes to unload a van

TILE is an acronym for Task, Individual, Load and Environment, and states the 4 different factors that should be take into consideration before performing any manual handling job.


 

In this Article:



 

What is Manual Handling?

 

Manual handling is the supporting or lifting of heavy objects and loads by hand or bodily force in the workplace. This is often required in labour or construction workplaces such as with the heavy lifting of tools and handling machinery and equipment.


There are various manual handling legislations provided by the HSE which highlights the rules and guidelines that should be followed in the workplace to keep both employees and other people safe. The legislations are designed to help prevent accidents and injuries at work by ensuring risk assessments are performed to identify and manage all risks and ensure the equipment is only used by fully trained employees who have learned manual handling techniques and know how to safely move heavy loads without risk of injury.

 

Manual handling often uses the term TILE during risk assessments which stands for task, individual, load and environment. This is a memorable acronym and refers to the four factors that must be considered before any manual handling task is completed. If someone is asking what does TILE stand for, chances are they should receive manual handling training.


Manual Handling in Care


In the care sector, it also refers to the moving and handling of residents who are unable to move by themselves and require support during everyday tasks such as dressing and washing.


 

A graphic showing the acronym TILE

What does Tile stand for?


T – Task

 

The T in TILE stands for Task and means you need to consider the nature of the manual handling task, determine the risks involved and decide how to reduce the risks posed to employees. Some jobs may require various amounts of weight being lifted or carried in dangerous ways and the risk assessment is designed to reduce the danger.


These are some questions you should ask when assessing the Task:


  • Is the load carried close to or away from the body?

  • Does the task require the handler to stoop, bend, twist or reach/stretch upwards?

  • Is excessive pushing, pulling, lifting or lowering involved?

  • What is the weight of the object or load?

  • Is there an excessive amount of manual handling required?

  • Is there time for the employee to rest and recover?

If the manual handling task answers yes to one or more of these questions, then there needs to be measures put into place as soon as possible to reduce the dangerous factors and reduce risk of injury to employees.


 

I – Individual

 

Individual refers to the physical capabilities of the employees when performing the manual handling task. Any injuries, disabilities and impairments should be taken into account to ensure the employees are fully capable of carrying and moving a heavy load without anything affecting their ability.

Each individual has a different amount of strength which determines how much they can carry and for how long. Other factors such as height and age may also affect their abilities.


Here are some things to consider for the individual performing the task:


  • Does the individual have full manual handling training?

  • Do they have any health conditions that need to be considered?

  • Is a certain amount of strength required?

  • Does the task require specific knowledge or training only certain employees know?

  • Does height affect the ability of the manual handling task?

Everyone’s physicality and strength is different and if yes is answered to any of these questions, a different, more suitable employee may be required to complete the manual handling task instead.

 

 

L – Load

 

Load refers to the weight, size and shape of the object and also the movement of said load and how dangerous or difficult it can be when lifted and moved. This also depends on if it is a person being moved in the care sector as this will involve different characteristics and risks.


These are some questions to consider when assessing a load:


  • What is the weight and shape of the load?

  • Is it a hazardous object or does it have sharp edges?

  • Can you see in front and around while handling the load?

  • Is it an unstable load that can fall apart of spill during moving?

Certain safety measures will need to be put into place if any of these questions are answered with a yes. You may be able to make a big load smaller, or more people may be added to safely move the load.


 

 

E – Environment

 

Environment means that you need to check the surrounding environment for any hazards such as trip hazards, floor conditions, lighting and space to ensure the working environment is safe to move and lift loads. The area where the manual handling takes place can have an effect on the risk level of the task.


Here are some things to consider when assessing the environment:


  • Are there any trip hazards such as uneven flooring, steps or a ramp?

  • Could the weather conditions affect the environment and task?

  • Is there enough lighting available?

  • Will a change in temperature affect the task or your grip on the object?

If the answer is yes to multiple questions, then the environment should be improved or the location of the task and objects permanently moved to a safer area. The route should also be cleared of hazards to reduce the risk of accidents.

 

 

What Does TILEO Stand For?

 

In some circumstances, an O may be added onto the end of the acronym to create TILEO. The O stands for Other Factors and means any other potential issues found during a manual handling task that can cause safety problems should also be considered and assessed.

Other factors can refer to many things not covered in the original TILE acronym such as PPE equipment, machinery used and additional training required depending on the specific manual handling task and the health and safety involved.


It is up to both employers and employees to determine and assess the risks and provide alternative safety measures to reduce the risks.


 

A graphic showing the acronym LITE

What Does LITE Stand For?

 

The LITE acronym is exactly the same as TILE but with two of the words, Task and Load, swapped around. The letters are simply in a different order and both can be used in the workplace, it just depends on which one you find easier to remember.


It doesn’t matter which acronym you use as long as you correctly use all of the letters to assess the risks involved in the manual handling tasks. Following this acronym ensures the main risk factors are considered, assessed and measures are put into place to ensure the manual handling tasks can be performed safely as per the HSE legislations.

 

 

Manual Handling Risk Assessment

 

A manual handling risk assessment must always be performed to determine, assess and reduce the risks posed by certain tasks and ensure health and safety is always paramount in the workplace. A risk assessment will follow the TILE or LITE acronyms, assessing the task, individual, load and environment of each manual handling task and must be performed by a fully trained and competent employee.


The risk assessor will identify any hazards relating to the manual handling task and implement certain safety measures and plans to reduce the risk and therefore reduce accidents or injury. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure risk assessments are regularly performed and plans put into place to ensure employees and other people are always safe during the process of manual handling tasks.

 

 

a statue of a woman holding scales representing law

Manual Handling Legislation


There is manual handling legislation found in five different acts provided by the UK’s Health and Safety Executive. The legislations provide rules and guidelines that must be followed by all employers and employees when carrying out any manual handling tasks.


The legislations that cover manual handling include:


These pieces of manual handling legislation, if followed correctly, ensure that all workers are always safe in the workplace when performing any manual handling tasks. It requires regular risk assessments to be performed and highlights all responsibilities for both employers and employees as well as appropriate training and knowledge of equipment required of the workers.


 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Where does the TILE framework come from?

The TILE framework was devised by the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) and is used to ensure all employees are safe during all manual handling tasks.

 

Injuries caused by manual handling?

Various injuries can be caused by manual handling such as back, neck, shoulder and foot injuries, pulled muscles, strains and sprains, falls and cuts. Injuries can be reduced and prevented by performing regular risk assessments to determine risks and implement safety measures.

 

How can TILE be used in risk assessments?

TILE is an acronym which stands for Task, Individual, Load and Environment and covers the main factors that must be considered during all risk assessments for manual handling tasks.


 


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