MSD Mattress handling initiative

Bed manufacturing had around twice the manufacturing industries average rate of manual handling injuries. Therefore, HSE decided to work with the industry to improve this situation.

A report has been produced that identifies seven tasks that have the greatest risk of causing injury. These are:

  • Tape-edging – highest risk
  • Handling (generally carried above the head) – high risk
  • Divan assembly and dressing – medium risk
  • Mattress assembly – medium risk
  • Tufting – medium risk
  • Spring assembly and hand stitching of mattresses – medium risk

After a successful pilot in Wales a national project was started, with the support of the National Bed Federation, the industry's major trade association.

Bed manufacturers were told of the findings of the report during a series of seminars, where they were provided with benchmarks for these seven tasks. They were then requested to produce their own 3-year action plan showing how they would achieve these benchmarks.

The progress with these action plans was monitored by telephone interviews and site visits and these identified that a lot of improvements had been made. These have been detailed in the final report on the project which is available in either a full or summarised version:

An image of poor mattress handling technique

Poor example of mattress lifting technique

Is this page useful?

Updated 2023-08-08