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Manual handling assessment chart (MAC) tool

manual handling and a chart

The MAC tool has been developed to help the user identify high risk workplace manual handling activities.

The tool can be used to assess the risks posed by lifting, carrying and team manual handling activities. It is designed to help you understand, interpret and categorise the level of risk of the various known risk factors associated with manual handling activities. The MAC incorporates a numerical and a colour coding score system to highlight high risk manual handling tasks.

Site summary

This website provides information and assistance regarding the use of the MAC, when assessing the risks associated with manual handling.

It outlines why the MAC was developed, how the MAC works and how to use it. General information is provided on the risks associated with manual handling and on an employers duties under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations (as amended) 1992 (MHOR).

You can print a copy of the MAC leaflet and then use it to rate the six videos based on lifting, carrying and manual handling, presented on the website. Following your assessment of the task you can then compare your scores against those of an expert. Finally you can view a number of general solutions that you may be able to apply to your workplace which may reduce the overall level of risk.

Prevalence and costs of MSDs

Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) are the most common cause of occupational ill health in Great Britain, currently affecting 1 million people a year and costing society £5.7 billion. MSDs affect the muscles, joints, tendons and other parts of the musculoskeletal system.

It is important to understand the risks associated with manual handling and take appropriate measures to assess and ultimately reduce these risks, so the likelihood of suffering from MSDs such as back pain are reduced.

Manual handling

According to the MHOR - Manual Handling is defined as:

"...any transporting or supporting of a load (including the lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving thereof) by hand or bodily force"

The MHOR 1992 establish a clear hierarchy of measures for dealing with risks from manual handling, these are:

A detailed assessment of every manual handling operation could be a major undertaking and might involve wasted effort. Many handling operations, for example the occasional lifting of a small lightweight object, will involve negligible handling risk. To help identify situations where a more detailed risk assessment in necessary, HSE has developed a filter to screen out straightforward cases.

Using the MAC will help with the initial screening of possible high risk manual handling activities within the workplace. However, the MAC is NOT appropriate for all manual handing operations, and does NOT comprise a full risk assessment. Therefore it is unlikely to be acceptable if relied upon alone. To be "suitable and sufficient", a risk assessment will normally need to take account of additional information such as individual capabilities (factors), and should conform to the requirements in the MHOR 1992 (available from HSE Books). Persons with knowledge and experience of the handling operations, industry specific guidance, and specialist advice, may be of assistance. Remember, consult and involve employees and safety reps.

If you want to help us to improve the MAC website then please fill out our feedback form and email us your comments.

Updated 2014-03-17