Manual handling assessment charts (the MAC tool)

The MAC tool was developed to help the user identify high-risk workplace manual handling activities and 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. It incorporates a numerical and a colour-coding score system to highlight high-risk manual handling tasks.

Manual handling

According to the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (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 establish a clear hierarchy of measures for dealing with risks from manual handling:

  • avoid hazardous manual handling operations so far as is reasonably practicable;
  • assess any hazardous manual handling operations that cannot be avoided; and
  • reduce the risk of injury so far as is reasonably practicable.

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 is necessary, HSE has developed filters to screen out straightforward cases (see Appendix of L23).

Using the MAC will help to identify high-risk manual handling activities within the workplace. However, the MAC is not appropriate for all manual handing operations, and may 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, and should conform to the requirements in the MHOR. People with knowledge and experience of the handling operations, industry specific guidance, and specialist advice may also be helpful. Remember to consult and involve employees and safety representatives.

Is this page useful?

Updated 2021-06-30