Planning a push / pull risk assessment
questions below are an example of what you should be asking as part of your
risk assessment (see INDG143 for further information and guidance).
Try to consider all the questions below before undertaking a pushing and
pulling activity and complete a suitable and sufficient risk assessment.
Questions on the task
- Is the route as short as possible?
- Is the task known to be demanding for employees? That is, do they dislike
a particular job or task?
- Is the route clear of obstacles?
- Does the task involve negotiating kerbs, steps or slopes?
- Are there maintenance procedures in place?
- Does the task need a lot of effort to get the load moving and kept moving?
- Are there sudden movements to start or stop the load?
- Are there any one handed operations?
- Is there movement at high speed or over long distances?
- Is there repetitive pushing/pulling?
Questions on the load
- How heavy is the laden trolley and how much force is exerted?
- Is the load stable and secure?
- Is the load too bulky for the route or trolley?
- Can you see over the load?
- Are there good handholds?
Questions on the environment
- Does the task take place in a very hot or cold environment? (Repetitive pushing and pulling activities within hot and humid temperatures can lead to the early onset of fatigue).
- Does the task take place in windy locations where the load may become
- Is the lighting adequate – not too dim and not too bright?
- Are there constraints on body posture/positioning?
- Are there confined spaces/narrow doorways?
- Are there surfaces or edges to cause cuts/abrasions/burns to hands or
- Any rutted/damaged/slippery floors?
- Any trapping or tripping hazards?
Questions on individual capabilities
- Does the worker have a musculoskeletal injury (ache or pain), which
might be aggravated?
- Does the worker have any loose clothing that may get entangled in the
- Does the worker adopt the correct upright posture for the operation?
- Does the task require unusual capabilities?
- Does it cause a hazard to those with a health problem or those who are
- Is there a need for special information/training?
Questions on the equipment
- Is your device fit for purpose – is the device the correct type
for the operation?
- Is it well maintained and do the wheels and castors rotate freely?
- Are the wheels on the device suited to the floor surface? E.g. are the
wheels large enough to minimise rolling resistance?
- Is the handle height on your device between your waist and your shoulder
- Are there any brakes? If so, are they effective?
- Are the handle grips in good order and comfortable?
- Is movement or posture hindered by clothing or personal protective equipment?
- Is there an absence of the correct/suitable PPE being worn?
- If on wheels/castors – are they
- unsuitable for the type of load?
- unsuitable for the floor surface/work environment?
- difficult to
- easily damaged or defective?
- without brakes or difficult to stop?
- with brakes, but the brakes are poor/ ineffective?
Questions on work organisation and psychosocial factors
- Do workers feel that there has been a lack of consideration given to
the planning and scheduling of tasks/rest breaks?
- Do workers feel that there is poor communication between management
and employees (eg they're not involved in risk assessments or when
- Are there sudden changes in workload, or seasonal changes in volume
without mechanisms for dealing with the change?
- Do workers feel they have been given insufficient training and information
in order to carry out the task successfully?