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MHOR 1992 | Definition and Summary

Updated: May 6

gears showing policy regulation and compliance

MHOR Stands for the Manual Handling Operations Regulations, these regulations were originally created in 1992 in order to give clear methods to reduce the risks posed by manual handling.


In this Article:


Why was MHOR Created

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 was created to give clarity on what is regarded as manual handling and give clear guidance to employers on how to manage their staff who undertake manual handling tasks. This piece of health and safety legislations outlines the best practices for dealing with the risks posed when moving loads in the workplace.

Before MHOR was created there was no formal guidance on procedures that employees should follow, nor was there clear instruction given to employers to follow in order to keep them safe from legal repercussions in the event of an employee injury.


What does MHOR Define as a Load?

The Manual Handling Operations 1992 defines a load as any object that requires lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving. The definition is intentionally broad to ensure it covers all applications where to body is used to move an object.


The 3 Ranking Measures

The 3 ranking measures were put in place to give a clear approach to manual handling tasks in the workplace. The measures are ranked from most ideal to least and aims to avoid any kind of risk involving manual handling.

1. Avoid

The first of the 3 ranking measures is put in place because the best way to reduce the risk whilst manual handling is to avoid doing the task altogether. In some cases manual handling tasks can be avoided completely and a piece of manual handling equipment can be used such as a fork truck which completely removes the risk of sustaining injury.

2. Assess

The second ranking measure is put in place to ensure people look at the risks of the tasks if they are unable to avoid it. The possible risks should be noted so that the worker has complete knowledge of the task they are going to undertake and what could possibly happen if something were to go wrong.

3. Reduce Risk

Once it has been established that the task cannot be avoided and all of the associated risks have been assessed, the final measure is to put control measures in place to reduce the risks. Some of the methods used to reduce these risks could include finding an appropriate path in cases where the original path is hazardous, alternatively PPE such as gloved could be used if the load being carried has a risk of cutting.


MHOR 2002 Amendment

In 2002 the original 1992 MHOR regulations were updated to include factors such as physicality, suitable clothing and appropriate training. The update also includes recommendations on upper limb disorders and gives employers clarity on what should be expected if employees carry out repetitive tasks.


2 worker moving a pallet in a warehouse

Responsibility of Employers

Employers are legally obliged under the Manual Handling regulations to assess the risks that employees may be exposed to when manual handling. The possible risks should be assessed by the employer and appropriate control measures should be put in place to protect their employees. In addition to this, employers are also required to communicate with staff and monitor any injuries sustained through manual handling so that the safety measures can be applied.

hen a manual handling injury is sustained employers are also expected to carry out an accident report in order to find out what the cause of the incident was and assess weather there are safety measures that can be put in place to reduce the chance of this happening in the future.

Employers responsibilities fall into these 3 categories:

Assess Risks

All risks should be assessed by employers in order to identify situations that could be deemed as dangerous or hazardous to health.

Implement Control measures

There should be control measures put in place to reduce the risks identified. These control measures can include ensuring appropriate employee training and correct PPE usage.

Monitor Injuries

All Injuries should be monitored by employers and the risk should be reassessed if an injury is sustained, from here the employer should put further safety measures in place to reduce the chance of this injury happening in the future.

In instances where people other than staff are in a workplace, proper measures should be put in place to reduce the risk of injury for visitors, such as ensuring public walkways do not collide with high traffic areas.


Maximum Weight for Men and Women

The maximum weight limits people can lift depends on a few factors such as stature, possible health issues and gender. The health and safety executive (HSE) states that the maximum safe lifting weight for men is 25kg and 16kg. Although these maximum lifting limits have been advised the allowable weight is set depending on where the load is being carried from.

The following table shows the maximum safe lifting limit for men and women in different positions.


Max Lifting weight for Men

Max Lifting weight for Men

Elbow Height



Hand Height



Shoulder height



Head Height



Below the Knee




man fallen whilst carrying box

Injuries Caused by Poor Manual Handling Technique

Poor manual handling technique can cause a range of different injuries, these injuries can be caused by repetitively using bad form when lifting or from falls while carrying objects.

Some forms of manual handling injuries include:

Musculoskeletal disorders

These conditions are usually caused by repetitive poor technique and commonly affect areas of the body such as the shoulders, neck and back. Workers can also sustain these types of conditions can also be from lifting weights that are too heavy for them.

Joint Injuries

Joints can become sprained or misaligned commonly through falling or poor foot placement whilst carrying a load. In some cases joint injury's can be caused by repetitive poor technique before a fault in the joint causes a more severe injury through a slip or fall.

Repetitive Strain Injury

These injuries are caused by carrying out the same types of tasks with poor form multiple times. After time the joints or muscles become weak and imbalanced causing strains and conditions such as tendinitis.

Cuts and Bruises

Cuts and bruises are the most minor form of injury that can be caused from handling items that are sharp or cause the worker to fall over. PPE such as correct gloves and boots can increase protection for people who may otherwise cut themselves on sharp object or drop object due to lack of grip. Although these injuries may seem minor, cuts can cause infections and more sever conditions making avoiding these types of injuries a priority


Manual Handling Training

Manual Handling training helps employers ensure that their staff are properly trained in manual handling operations, reducing the risk of injury. This training helps staff assess the load before they choose to move it, the weight of the load is one of the many factors that should be considered when moving objects.

The HSE states that staff should be properly trained in safe methods before undertaking any task at work. Manual handling training is one of the most common topics included in most inductions to a work new workplace and keeps the employers legally protected in the event that a worker sustains a manual handling injury.

manual handling course card


Frequently Asked Questions

Is Manual Handling Training a Legal Requirement?

What should be Considered when Carrying out a Manual Handling Risk Assessment?

How many People Suffer Injury through Moving and Handling each Year?


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