Manual handling is an integral part of many jobs and everyday activities, but if done incorrectly, it can lead to various health and safety risks. In this blog, we will explore five common manual handling mistakes and provide practical tips on how to avoid them, ensuring the safety and well-being of both workers and individuals in their daily lives.

  1. Poor Lifting Technique

Mistake: One of the most prevalent manual handling mistakes is using improper lifting techniques. People often bend at the waist, rounding their backs, and relying solely on their back muscles to lift heavy objects. This places excessive strain on the spine and can lead to back injuries.

Solution: To avoid this mistake, use the following techniques:

  • Bend at the hips and knees, keeping your back straight and maintaining a natural curve in your spine.
  • Keep the load close to your body.
  • Use your legs to lift, not your back.
  • Avoid twisting your body while lifting.
  1. Overestimating Your Strength

Mistake: Overconfidence in your physical abilities can lead to trying to lift objects that are too heavy for you, resulting in strains, sprains, or even more severe injuries.

Solution: Always assess the weight and size of the load before attempting to lift it. If the load is too heavy or awkward to manage alone, seek assistance or use mechanical aids like trolleys, forklifts, or dollies.

  1. Poor Planning and Organisation

Mistake: Failing to plan and organize manual handling tasks can lead to inefficiency and increased risk of injury. Rushing or making impulsive decisions can compromise safety.

Solution: Before lifting or moving any load, take a moment to plan and prepare. Consider the following:

  • Assess the best route and any obstacles in your path.
  • Clear clutter and debris from the area.
  • Check for any slippery or uneven surfaces.
  • Use proper personal protective equipment (PPE) if necessary, such as gloves or back support belts.
  1. Ignoring Ergonomics

Mistake: Neglecting ergonomics in the workplace can lead to repetitive strain injuries and musculoskeletal disorders. This often happens when individuals consistently perform tasks in awkward positions or with poor posture.

Solution: Incorporate ergonomic principles into your daily activities. This may involve:

  • Adjusting the height of work surfaces to minimize bending and reaching.
  • Using tools and equipment designed with ergonomic features.
  • Taking regular breaks to stretch and rest when performing repetitive tasks.
  1. Inadequate Training and Education

Mistake: Many people are unaware of proper manual handling techniques, leading to unintentional mistakes and increased risk of injury. Inadequate training can also result in employees not knowing how to use available equipment safely.

Solution: Ensure that all individuals involved in manual handling tasks receive proper training and education such as our accredited Manual Handling Awareness Course. Training should cover:

  • Proper lifting techniques.
  • The use of mechanical aids and equipment.
  • Hazard identification and risk assessment.
  • The importance of teamwork and communication when handling heavy loads.

If you are responsible for overseeing the wellbeing of other staff members, you may be interested in our accredited Manual Handling Train The Trainer Course which will give you the skills and tools you need to deliver your own manual handling training to your workforce.


Manual handling is a common aspect of our daily lives, both at work and at home. By recognizing and avoiding these common mistakes, we can significantly reduce the risk of injuries and create a safer environment for everyone involved. Proper lifting techniques, informed decision-making, and a commitment to safety are essential for preventing manual handling-related injuries and maintaining a healthy and productive lifestyle.

Published On: November 3rd, 2023