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Manual handling assessment Charts, (MAC), and EMM

OC 313/4

Review Date
09/05/2014
Open Government Status
Fully Open
Version No & Date
1: 09/05/2006
Author Unit/Section
Health Unit
Target audience
HSE and local authority inspectors

This OC helps in decision making to enable enforcement to be carried out in line with the HSC Enforcement Policy Statement, and gives guidance on the application of the EMM to manual handling risks. It is based on evidence concerning back pain from frequent and heavy lifting and links it to the Manual Handling Assessment charts (MAC). Please refer to MAC while reading this OC. If needed visit the MAC video training material on the HSE web site.

This guidance should not inhibit the application of an inspector's judgment in specific cases.  As it does not include advice concerning pushing and pulling activities specialist advice should be sought concerning these risks.  For consideration of patient handling please see the relevant sector guidance. For enforcement policy relating to the MSD risk control indicators, other than avoidance/control, please see the RHS MSD topic pack.

Introduction

1 Tackling MSD risk is an HSC priority. Strong enforcement action is encouraged. Musculoskeletal disorders represent considerable cost to society in terms of lost time as well as being a cause of pain and suffering to the individuals involved. This guidance provides information to facilitate enforcement. It:

Dealing with risk of serious personal injury

2 The likelihood of serious personal injury occurring is difficult to determine for MSDs. In the Construction Sector Prohibition Notices have been served concerning the use of high density building blocks etc. This has been as part of evidence based, strategic sector initiatives and work supported by specialist advice. The issue of Prohibition Notices should be considered where handling operations involve attract scores in the MAC purple zone and reasonably practicable controls are available. Specialist advice should generally be sought except where relevant sector specific enforcement guidance clearly supports a PN.

Consequences

3 Please refer to table 1. Consequences of health effects - serious, significant and minor- have been assigned to enable a proportionate initial enforcement expectation (IEE) to be reached.

The consequence designations in table 1 are made on the basis of:

NB there are additional risk factors not considered by MAC which could increase the likelihood of injury, e.g. individual capability, falls while carrying. If additional factors appear to be especially significant in a particular case then specialist advice should be sought. Normally EMM excludes individual factors but they should be included for manual handling - as required by the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (as amended) Regulation 4(3).

Benchmarking

4 The benchmark standard is a nil/negligible risk of a serious health effect. There will be cases where the activity cannot be avoided and there are not reasonably practicable controls to achieve that benchmark. Account should be taken of standards and guidance set out in the MSD RHS Inspection Pack, and sector guidance in SIMs etc. In cases of doubt concerning availability of reasonably practicable controls advice should be sought from the relevant Sector and/or specialist.

Determining the risk gap and initial enforcement expectation

5 Table 1 shows the likelihood of health effect for specific MAC assessment tool results and combines those with the consequence to provide a risk gap and initial enforcement expectation.

The risk gap information in table 1 is based on the single and low casualties risk gap table 2.1in EMM and is equally applicable in cases where there are several persons exposed to the MSD risk as this may be taken into account as a duty holder factor.

Table 1. MAC chart results, likelihood and consequence of health effect, risk gap and IEE

(NB colour coding and letters refer to the MAC system and not EMM chart colours)

MAC colour bands, letters and description MAC Chart type:
Lifting Carrying

Team Handling

Likelihood and consequence of health effect, risk gap and IEE

Load weight frequency is purple purple

See also section above "dealing with risk of serious personal injury" concerning PN
purple A

Probable or Possible / Serious

Risk gap Extreme

IEE: IN and consider PR

Probable or Possible / Serious

Risk gap Extreme

IEE: IN and consider PR

Probable or Possible / Serious

Risk gap Extreme

IEE: IN and consider PR

Load weight / frequency score is red red and hand distance from lower back is red red red A
and
red B

Probable / Significant

RG Substantial

IEE: IN or letter

Probable / Significant

RG Substantial

IEE: IN or letter

Probable / Significant

RG Substantial

IEE: IN or letter

Load weight / frequency is red red and hand distance from lower back is amber amber and vertical lift region is red red red A
and
amber B
and
red C

Probable / Significant

RG Substantial

IEE: IN or letter

N/A

Probable / Significant

RG Substantial

IEE: IN or letter

Load weight / frequency and communication is red red red A and red I N/A N/A

Probable / Significant

RG Substantial

IEE: IN or letter

Load weight / frequency is red red and either assymetrical trunk load or carrying while on a ladder (obstacle) red red red A and red C OR red I N/A

Probable / Significant

RG Substantial

IEE: IN or letter

N/A
Load weight / frequency scores red red and any of D,E,F,G, or H score red red red A AND red D,E,F,G, or H

Possible / Significant

RG moderate

IEE: IN or letter

Possible / Significant

RG moderate

IEE: IN or letter

Possible / Significant

RG moderate

IEE: IN or letter

Load weight / frequency scores amber amber and B,C,D or E score red red or amber amber. amber A AND ANY OF red B, C, D, E
OR ANY OF
amber   B, C, D or E

Possible / Significant

RG moderate

IEE: IN or letter

Possible / Significant

RG moderate

IEE: IN or letter

Possible / Significant

RG moderate

IEE: IN or letter

Any MAC risk factor scores red red

red Any of A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H or I

Possible / minor

RG Nominal

IEE: Letter or verbal

Possible / minor

RG Nominal

IEE: Letter or verbal

Possible / minor

RG Nominal

IEE: Letter or verbal

Any single MAC risk factor scores amber amber amber Any of A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H or I

Possible / minor

RG Nominal

IEE: Letter / verbal

Possible / minor

RG Nominal

IEE: Letter / verbal

Possible / minor

RG Nominal

IEE: Letter / verbal

Updated 2012-05-17