Manual Handling

Date: 05.10.2016     Last updated: 30.06.2017 at 15.54
If your job involves lifting or carrying heavy or awkwardly-shaped equipment, or repetitive lifting, you need to know how to minimise the risk of injury - this Guideline should help.

What Can Go Wrong?

  • Injuries caused by manual handling (particularly to the back, shoulders and neck) are a significant contributor to sickness absence statistics. Those most at risk of injury are those who aren't used to the physical nature of the activity required and/or those who haven't been trained to lift correctly.

Legal/BBC Requirements

The UK's manual handling regulations state that employers should adopt a hierarchy of control measures for managing manual handling work so as to:

  • avoid hazardous manual handling operations where it is practicable to do so
  • risk assess any hazardous manual handling operations that cannot be avoided
  • take measures to reduce the risk of injury.

Control Measures

General Controls

1. Take every opportunity to AVOID manual handling wherever possible.

2. Where avoidance isn’t possible try to MINIMISE lifting and carrying e.g. parking close to the location, using a trolley or a rucksack, sharing the load with a second person, minimising what is carried to essentials, using lifts not stairs etc.

3. When manual handling can’t be avoided, ASSESS the risk. A useful mnemonic to consider when completing this risk assessment is TILE - Task, Individual, Load, Environment. There’s a manual handling inspection checklist on myRisks Tools that can help you with this.

4.  Put in place strategies to REDUCE the risk, such as:-

  • Use a suitable manual handling aid e.g. wheeled cases, backpack etc.
  • Get help from colleagues and share or book porters etc.
  • Use safe lifting techniques e.g. plan where it is going, get close to the load, bend the knees, keep the back straight, and avoid over-stretching and twisting the back when carrying or placing the load.
  • Wear suitable footwear with non-slip soles.
  • When storing items, keep heavy or frequently used items at a manageable height.


  • When using/hiring a vehicle, make sure you select one with good access to the boot / loading edges so you can slide items in rather than reaching over a lip.
  • Park as close to drop off point as possible or consider dropping off kit before parking.
  • Load the vehicle so you don’t have to stretch to reach items.
  • When unloading slide items towards you before attempting to lift them, again, avoid twisting the spine while lifting.

Camera Operations

  • Try to keep the camera close to your body and avoid stretching your arms out.
  • Kneel or spread legs to lower the shot height, don’t bend your back. Consider cradling the camera at waist height when shooting seated people or children.
  • When standing still take the strain off your lower back by resting one foot on a slightly higher level such as a box, bag or step.
  • Rest the camera on a mounting whenever possible. If a tripod is not available use a wall, chair, table or window ledge to support the camera, or consider using a monopod as a mobile alternative.

For Managers

  • As a Manager (or Producer if on a Production), you are responsible for ensuring that Risk Assessments are carried out to identify manual handling activities with a risk of injury, although you can delegate this task to a nominated competent person.
  • Ensure all staff that perform a significant amount of manual handling attend the Manual Handling Awareness Workshop.
  • A discussion will need to be had with any pregnant lady before commencing manual handling –seek further advice from the pregnancy section or BBC Safety.
  • If staff are reporting work related issues or injuries, you can refer them to Occupational Health for assessment and advice on their health at work or any necessary adjustments. This may include physiotherapy treatment where a short course (5 sessions) is likely to resolve the problem.
  • If you injure yourself while lifting and handling then you should seek advice and treatment from your own doctor, NHS walk in centre or accident and emergency department.

Division Specific Issues

  • No division specific issues.

FAQs/Did You Know?

  • The HSE publish a guide called 'Manual Handling at Work: A brief guide' that provides some additional information about Manual Handling and the related Risk Assessment.

 Safety Guides - Quick Links

About this site

This site describes what the BBC does in relation to managing its health, safety and security risks and is intended for those who work directly for the BBC.

It is not intended to provide instruction or guidance on how third parties should manage their risks. The BBC cannot be held liable for how this information is interpreted or used by third parties, nor provide any assurance that adopting it would provide any measure of legal compliance. More information.

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