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HSE launches campaign to combat manual handling incidents in construction


The HSE has launched a campaign to help reduce manual handling injuries on construction sites which will see them carry out 1,000 inspections in October and November. The focus will be to check how workers are moving heavy or bulky materials after recent figures showed that around 40,000 people in the construction industry suffer a musculoskeletal disorder every year. More widely, 18% of all non-fatal injuries in Great Britain in 2021 were from handling, lifting or carrying – the second most common incident type behind slips, trips and falls at 33%. 

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 compel employers, designers, contractors and others working on site to prevent or reduce risks from lifting, carrying and handling loads. The HSE advocates an ‘assess, control and review’ model so that risks are identified and assessed, prevented or reduced through control measures and regularly reviewed. 

The HSE has various tools available to help enforce health and safety legislation and is not afraid to issue prohibition and improvement notices with 1,107 and 1,821 being issued respectively in 2021. Where they prosecute, the conviction rate is 93% and average fines (which are imposed in 80% of cases) were up 35% to £145,000 in 2021. 

The construction industry needs to be on notice and review their manual handling risk assessments so that they are aware of risks and have appropriate measures in place.

Chris Newton

Chris Newton
Head of Crime and Regulatory

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