FAQs - Toolkit

What is the toolkit?

Answer: The Toolkit is a collection of tools developed by HSE to help employers and employees identify common risk factors covering manual handling operations including lifting and carrying, pushing and pulling and repetitive tasks. The tools have been designed to help assessors to break down tasks, identify elements that could pose a risk to workers and evaluate potential solutions or improvements.

What is the Manual handling assessment chart (MAC tool) and how can I use it?

Answer: The MAC Tool helps to identify high-risk manual handling activities. It can be used by employers, employees and their representatives in any sized organisation. It is not appropriate for all manual handling operations, and so may not comprise a full 'suitable and sufficient' risk assessment if relied on alone. A risk assessment will normally need to take account of additional factors such as an individual's ability to carry out the task eg whether they have any health problems or need special information or training. The guidance on the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 sets out in detail the requirements of an assessment. People with knowledge and experience of the handling operations, industry specific guidance and specialist advice, may also help in completing an assessment.

Check the website – MAC Tool

If a manual handling task involves lifting and then carrying, what should I assess and how do the scores work?

Answer: Ideally assess both, but after some experience of using the MAC you should be able to judge which of the task elements poses the greater risk. The total scores should be used to help the assessor prioritise remedial actions. The scores provide an indication of which manual handling tasks require attention first. They can also be used as a way of evaluating potential improvements. The most effective improvements will bring about the highest reduction in the score.

What is the Assessment of Repetitive Tasks (ART) Tool and how can I use it?

Answer: The ART Tool is designed to help assess tasks that require repetitive movement of the upper limbs (arms and hands). It helps assess some of the common risk factors in repetitive work that contribute to the development of upper limb disorders (ULDs). The ART tool is intended for people responsible for the design, assessment, management, and inspection of repetitive work. Repetitive tasks are typically found in assembly, production, processing, packaging, packing and sorting work, as well as work involving regular use of hand tools. The ART tool uses a numerical score and a traffic lights approach to indicate the level of risk for specific factors.

Check the HSE website -  ART Tool

What is the Risk assessment of pushing and pulling (RAPP) tool?

Answer: The RAPP tool can be used to analyse tasks that involve pushing or pulling items whether they have been loaded onto a trolley or mechanical aid or where they are being pushed/pulled across a surface.

  • It is a simple tool designed to help assess the key risks in manual pushing and pulling operations involving whole body effort.
  • It is similar to the MAC tool and uses colour-coding and numerical scoring, like the MAC.
  • It will help identify high-risk pushing and pulling activities and help you evaluate the effectiveness of any risk-reduction measures.
  • You can assess two types of pulling and pushing operations using the RAPP:
    • moving loads using wheeled equipment, such as hand trolleys, pump trucks, carts or wheelbarrows;
    • moving items without wheels, involving dragging/sliding, churning (pivoting and rolling) and rolling.
  • For each type of assessment there is a flow chart, an assessment guide and a score sheet

 Check the HSE website – Push/Pull

What is the Variable manual handling assessment chart (V-MAC)?

Answer: The MAC tool assumes the same load is handled all day which is not always the case, so the V-MAC is a method of assessing very variable manual handling. It is a spreadsheet add-on to the MAC that helps you assess manual handling where the load weights/frequency vary. All the following should apply to the job:

  • it involves lifting and/or carrying for a substantial part of the shift (eg more than 2 hours);
  • it has variable load weights;
  • it is carried out regularly (eg once a week or more);
  • handling is a single-person operation;
  • it involves individual weights of more than 2.5 kg;
  • the difference between the smallest and largest weight is 2 kg or more.

The tool is available on HSE's website, but please make sure you are familiar with the MAC tool first and that this is the correct tool for your operation.

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Updated 2021-06-29