RR1026 - Validation of the HSE manual handling assessment charts as predictors of work-related low back pain

The aim of this research was to ascertain whether HSE's 'Manual handling Assessment Charts' (MAC tool) could be used to predict workers losing time from work due to low back pain (LBP). Results from the study suggest that as the 'Hand distance from the lower back' increased, the risk of lost time due to LBP increased. For each 10 cm increase, the rate of lost time increased by approximately 20%. No evidence of relationships between other risk factors in the MAC and lost time was found. There was no evidence that the rate of lost time due to LBP increased with either increasing total MAC lifting score or total MAC carrying score.

Due to imprecision in the model estimates (wide confidence intervals), the lack of statistically significant results, and the limitations of the data, it was decided that it would not be appropriate to alter the scoring system currently used in the MAC based on these data. Duty holders should be confident in carrying on using the MAC tool as the risk factors for LBP included were identified as important by earlier studies.

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Updated 2021-04-15