Principles of Manual Handling

1. Principles of Safe Manual Handling – Assess the task

The safest best technique for performing the task is determined by considering:

  • the environment
  • the ability of the handler to perform the task e.g., size, age, state of health
  • the nature of the load – i.e., animate or inanimate 

    2. Plan

    Ensure that the area is free from obstacles like debris on the floor which may interfere with the smooth implementation of the procedure. Wear comfortable clothing, which allows free movement. Shoes should have flat heels, covered toes and provide good support to the feet. Articles of jewellery, which could become entangled, should be removed. Brakes must be applied to moveable equipment. Ensure adequate help is available.

    Manual Handling Principles

    3. Principles of Safe Manual Handling -Position the feet

    Feet should be comfortably apart to provide a wide base of support and to allow the handler to get as close to the load as possible. Feet should be positioned in the direction of movement of the procedure so that weight can be transferred smoothly from one leg to the other. The centre of gravity should fall within the base of support to give a more stable posture.

    4. Get a secure grip

    Make sure that the grip is comfortable for both the child and the handler and that this is decided before commencing a procedure.

    5. Keep the load close to the body

    Make sure the load is brought as close as possible to the handler to minimise stress on the lumbar spine.

    6. Maintain good posture throughout the procedure

    The vertebral column should be in correct alignment in the normal spinal curvature. The handler should keep his/her head up and neck straight, brace abdominal muscles to support his/her spine and avoid twisting.

    7. Use the leg muscles

    Hips and knees must be bent to lower the centre of gravity and align the body correctly. The strong leg muscles are used to reduce the stress on the spine.

    8. Principles of Safe Manual Handling – Use body momentum

    Timing is essential so that the transfers can be performed smoothly and steadily. Both client and handler should be fully prepared and the timing agreed e.g., one, two, three – lift. In team lifting, one person becomes the leader and directs the procedure.

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