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Examples of enforcement - Manual handling

Manual handling at an NHS trust

An HSE audit of an NHS Trust found poor manual handling practices, including employees transporting large quantities of medical records on inadequate trolleys. The Trust had failed to carry out suitable and sufficient risk assessments.


An Improvement Notice was served on the Trust requiring them to carry out suitable and sufficient risk assessments. The Trust complied with the Notice implementing the controls which involved among other things – redesigning medical records to avoid standing on desks; placing more records on micro fiche to reduce paper amounts and purchasing new trolleys which could be opened at the top and which also limited the weight staff had to push.

Poor working at height and manual handling practices at an aircraft maintenance company

Following a report of an accident at an aircraft maintenance firm HSE’s investigation revealed that the current standard practice for working at height was not being carried out. Despite concern from employees the firm was still using traditional access methods (ladders & stepladders) instead of access platforms purpose built for the aircraft type. In addition no consideration had been given to a range of manual handling issues associated with the removal of aircraft parts such as heavy batteries. It was clear the company was not fully aware of the risks or of current standards & guidance.


The company was served with Improvement Notices for both fall from height and manual handling issues, which included direct involvement by the managing director. Following the Notices the firm began to make major changes costing many thousands of pounds and which will result in major changes to working practices and procedures and a substantial lowering of the risks for workers from both fall from height and manual handling.

Updated 2009-02-06