RR486 - Assessing the effectiveness of the manual handling assessment chart (MAC) and supporting website

Following the successful introduction of the Manual Handling Assessment Chart (MAC) as a risk assessment tool for HSE Inspectors it was made available to the general public. This project assessed: general awareness of the tool amongst employers; how widely the tool had been used; and its effectiveness as a risk assessment tool.

A questionnaire was administered to a random sample of organisations in the UK. Of 1484 participants, slightly over 20% had heard of the MAC. Larger employers were more likely to be aware of the MAC and search for more information on it, although it was found that the percentage of employers who had used it was fairly consistent across size groups.

Follow-up telephone interviews were conducted with 38 of the original respondents and a further 5 identified through other channels. Of the 43, 28 indicated that they were currently using it. Fifteen had accessed the MAC via the website with 7 using the web-based training. Sustained use of the MAC was found to be limited with most only using it to conduct one or two risk assessments although a number of respondents did state that the MAC had proved useful in identifying hazardous tasks. A small minority considered that use of the MAC had directly contributed to a reduction in ill-health or accidents.

Many respondents felt that a similar risk assessment tool directed toward pushing and pulling activities would prove beneficial to their organisation and its omission was cited as a current weakness with the tool.

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Updated 2021-04-20