There are many risk factors when you are carrying out a manual handling task, for instance lifting, moving, pushing or pulling. Any one of them could result in injury, possibly serious injury. So, some knowledge of the correct and safest techniques to use is essential. This is where being familiar with TILE, TILEO or LITE helps.

What is TILE?

TILE is an acronym used as a quick and effective method of assessing a manual handling risk. It stands for:

  • Task
  • Individual
  • Load
  • Environment

What is TILEO?

TILEO is the same, with the addition of ‘O’ for Other.

  • Task
  • Individual
  • Load
  • Environment
  • Other factors

What is LITE?

LITE is an alternative acronym, interchangeable with TILE and TILEO.

  • Load
  • Individual
  • Task
  • Environment

Remember Avoidance should always be your first course of action. So, before commencing any assessment of risk, ask can it be avoided. If it is possible to avoid, then do so.

Where it isn’t avoidable, following these steps will minimise any risk of injury.

Task – Does the Manual Handling Task Involve:

  • Twisting, stooping or bending?
  • Lifting?
  • Pushing or pulling?
  • Positioning the load?
  • Repetitive movements?
  • Sudden movement?
  • Insufficient rest period?
  • Team handling?
  • Seated work?
  • Do you need to move the load over a long distance?

Individual – Ask who is Carrying Out the Task? Are They:

  • Pregnant?
  • Disabled?
  • Suffering from a health problem?
  • Is there someone more suitable?

Load – What is Being Moved? Is it:

  • Heavy?
  • Stable?
  • Difficult to grip?
  • Sharp?
  • Hot or cold?
  • Are the contents likely to move?
  • Are there handles?
  • Is the weight evenly distributed?

Environment – Within the Environment, Is or Are There:

  • Space constraints? Insufficient room can lead to unnatural postures.
  • Slippery or wet floors?
  • Uneven floors?
  • Different levels/steps or slopes?
  • Extreme conditions?
  • Trip hazards?
  • Insufficient lighting?

Other – Any Other Factors Which Need to be Considered?

  • Is protective gear (PPE) needed?
  • Does clothing or PPE hinder movement?
  • Is correct PPE being used?
  • Are mechanical aids being used? If so, are they in good working order and appropriate for the task?

To Summarise

Remember, however good your manual handling technique is, avoiding a lifting and moving task should always be your first choice if possible.  Where it is not possible to avoid, follow one of the acronyms: TILE, TILEO, or LITE.

Further Help

Employers can help make their workforce aware of safe manual handling procedures by providing training. When choosing training, ensure the course adheres to HSE guidance such as this course – Manual Handling Awareness Training Course.

Where organisations have many people who are carrrying out manual handling tasks, they could consider a manual handling instructor’s course such as this one – Manual Handling Train The Trainer Course

Published On: April 5th, 2023