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General Policy
Health & Safety
Manual Handling Co-ordinator
Manual Handling Team Lead
Director of Property & Asset Management
01 February 2006
01 June 2022
01 June 2024

General Note

NHS Fife acknowledges and agrees with the importance of regular and timely review of policy statements and aims to review policies within the timescales set out. New policies will be subject to a review date of no more than 1 year from the date of first issue.

Reviewed policies will have a review date set that is relevant to the content (advised by the author) but will be no longer than 3 years.

If a policy is past its review date, then the content will remain extant until such time as the policy review is complete and the new version published, or if national policy or legislative changes are made


1.1 NHS Fife is conversant with its health and safety responsibilities as an employer and recognises the significant risks of musculoskeletal injury associated with manual handling activities.

1.2 NHS Fife aims to reduce the risk of injury to staff from hazardous manual handling in all but exceptional and life threatening situations (Ref 6.1 Appendix 1).

1.3 The “Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992” as amended requires managers to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of risks to the health and safety of their employees while at work. NHS Fife will develop and implement manual handling risk management systems, which eliminate the risk of musculoskeletal injury, whenever practical or reasonable. Where risk cannot be eliminated completely, it will be reduced to an acceptable level.

1.4 The function of this policy is to ensure that the organisation is supported in achieving risk reduction measures to minimise the risk of musculoskeletal injury to all staff.


The policy applies across all areas where NHS Fife and Fife H&SCP staff provide clinical care and interventions, including healthcare premises and care delivered in a domiciliary setting or private healthcare facility.

2.1 Scope

2.1.1 This policy is applicable to all staff and by agreement, contractors working within NHS Fife.


3.1 NHS Fife Board

3.1.1 Fife NHS Board is ultimately responsible for all aspects of manual handling risk management. Board members have corporate responsibility for health and safety and they are assured of this through the Chief Executive and the Director of Property and Asset Management – Estates and Facilities.

3.2 Senior and Line Managers are responsible for:

3.2.1 Ensuring all staff receive appropriate manual handling training in line with job role, as appropriate, as part of their induction process.

3.2.2 Utilising TURAS, PDP, and revalidation processes to regularly identify and review individual learning and development needs. This will ensure all staff receive appropriate information, instruction, training and supervision in manual handling activities and the use of manual handling equipment and monitor the application of learning in the workplace.

3.2.3 The development and review of manual handling task specific risk assessment for their area, and where necessary, ensure adequate control measures are identified and implemented. Ensure risk assessments are carried out as required.

3.2.4 Providing safe and suitable manual handling equipment; ensuring the safe use of equipment where provided; confirming and implementing a procedure for cleaning whilst ensuring compliance with the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) for 6 monthly examination and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment 1998 (PUWER) for annual servicing.

3.2.5 Retaining an accurate manual handling equipment inventory and updating this when equipment is purchased or condemned.

3.2.6 Monitor the reporting of accidents, incidents and near misses via Datix reporting system in order to establish patterns which will assist in the review and development of training content. Undertaking investigations into manual handling related accidents, incidents and near misses in order to establish root cause and to review control measures accordingly. Assistance with incident investigation and root cause analysis may be obtained from the Manual Handling team and/or Health and Safety Team.

3.2.7 Individual sickness absence will be managed in line with ‘Once for Scotland Attendance Policy
• Maintain accurate records of your staffs’ attendance at mandatory manual handling training.
• Support at corporate, managerial and clinical levels.
• On recruitment of new employees obtain information on previous manual handling training to allow each individual’s manual handling training requirements to be assessed by the manual handling practitioners.
• All staff recruited from participating boards that can evidence previous manual handling education in line with the Scottish Manual Handling Passport Scheme will bypass manual handling induction training and will have their manual handling competencies checked at departmental level by their local manager. The induction checklist documents must be used (Ref 6.3 Appendix 3).
• All departments should establish manual handling core competencies for individuals to use to identify any outstanding training need in conjunction with the self assessment document.
• Ensuring that existing risk assessments are reviewed or an employee specific risk assessment is completed where a manual handling injury has been reported or other manual handling incident has occurred.

3.3 Employees - All employees are responsible for:

3.3.1 The implementation of manual handling risk reduction measures in accordance with current best practice as taught during manual handling practical training and e-learning theory and to demonstrate awareness of this policy.

3.3.2 Complying with manual handling related local procedures and safe systems of work.

3.3.3 Assessing all manual handling manoeuvres prior to the task and recording the information on the ‘client handling risk assessment form’. Guidance may be sought from the Manual Handling Coordinator.

3.3.4 Utilising TURAS, PDP & Revalidation processes to identify and review the learning and development needs required of their role, undertaking appropriate manual handling training and apply the skills and knowledge acquired in the workplace.

3.3.5 Making full and safe use of manual handling equipment provided, in accordance with training, instruction and manufacturers guidance. Participate in risk assessments as required.

3.3.6 Shortcomings in existing manual handling arrangements which present a serious or imminent risk of danger must be escalated to their Manager. Reporting manual handling equipment defects to the Estates Department and ensuring that equipment is marked as unsuitable and is removed from use until repaired or replaced.

3.3.7 Advise their manager with regards to any injury or health condition, which may affect their ability to perform manual-handling tasks safely. The line manager will, with consent of the employee, refer them to Occupational Health for assessment. Staff can self refer to Occupational Health (OH) for Physio, Counselling, and to discuss a health issue with an OH Nurse. If it is an issue that will impact on their work, OH will advise the member of staff to discuss with their Line Manager so that a Management Referral can be submitted, and a report provided with recommendations to Management.

3.3.8 Report via Datix all manual handling incidents, accidents or near misses that occur.

3.3.9 Liaise with the clinical lead for Fife Community Equipment Partnership regarding issues with manual handling equipment in the community.

3.4 Manual Handling Team

3.4.1 Part of Health and Safety Services, the Manual Handling Team consists of a Team Lead, Manual Handling Coordinators and Practitioners. The Manual Handling Team Lead, Coordinator and practitioners are the main sources of manual handling advice and guidance and oversee the implementation of the manual handling strategy whilst working collaboratively with risk management and the Health and Safety Team.

3.4.2 The Manual Handling Team Lead is responsible for:

• Ensuring that training is in line with the manual handling training standards and NHS Scotland Manual Handling Passport Scheme 2014.
• Assisting the H&S manager in the development of an NHS Fife wide strategy for manual handling and formulating and reviewing relevant policies, procedures and protocols.
• The provision of expert advice, guidance and practical support at corporate, managerial and clinical levels.
• Providing advice and support to managers to ensure the development of systems, to facilitate the implementation of the requirements of the Manual Handling Operations Regulations (1992).
• Assisting managers in the process of investigation and root cause analysis for injury, non-injury and RIDDOR reportable manual handling incidents.

3.4.3 The Manual Handling Coordinators are responsible for:

• Assisting the Manual Handling Team Lead in the Development of an NHS Fife wide strategy for manual handling and formulating and reviewing relevant policies, procedures and protocols
• Assuming a lead role in the continual development of training programmes, ensuring the implementation and delivery of quality, competency-based training which meets the needs of the service, in line with developments in technology and innovation.
• Monitoring NHS Fife Datix system and Manual Handling hub.
• Conducting investigations driven by Datix and provide advice/guidance and support for staff and managers.
• Undertaking formal monitoring of training delivery at a timeframe specified in the Scottish Manual Handling Passport Scheme.

3.4.4 The Manual Handling Practitioners are responsible for:

Delivery of high-quality manual handling training programmes. They assist the Manual Handling Co-ordinator with the review process when updating course material, thus ensuring that manual handling training provision is based on current best practice guidance.


4.1 NHS Fife is committed to the implementation of a minimal handling policy in all but exceptional or life threatening circumstances (Ref 6.1 Appendix 1) and the eradication of controversial lifts (Ref 6.2 Appendix 2) or when handling small children weighing less than 16kgs. Written procedures must be developed locally for handling during all exceptional and life-threatening situations.

4.2 Senior and line managers will ensure that manual handling hazards are identified and adequate control measures implemented. Where a patient requires more than minimum assistance, a ‘Client handling risk assessment’ will be undertaken and recorded prior to handling patients (Ref 6.4 Appendix 4).

4.3 Practical Manual Handling training will meet the minimum requirements of the Scottish Manual Handling Passport Scheme. Training will be available for all staff carrying out manual handling tasks. Training frequency and content will be commensurate to role and exposure of risk and be based on organisational and departmental training/learning needs analysis (Ref 6.5 Appendix 5).

4.4 Where there are specialist handling requirements for plus size patients, e.g. additional/ specialist equipment, additional assessments, etc. Staff will follow the NHS Fife Protocol for Handling of Plus Size Patients [Ref 6.6 Appendix 6]


5.1 NHS Fife is committed to:

• Documenting all risk assessments, reviewing them if the situation or circumstances change substantially, following an accident/ incident, they are no longer valid or every 12 months, whichever is sooner.
• Ensuring that manual handling risk assessments consider vulnerable groups of employees, including new or expectant mothers, young people (under 17 years old), ageing workers and staff recovering from injury or illness.


Appendix 1 - Exceptional and life threatening Situations/ Special handling situations
Appendix 2 - Controversial Techniques
Appendix 3 - Induction Assessment Flow Chart
Appendix 4 - Additional Forms for the risk assessment process
Appendix 5 - Manual Handling Training
Appendix 6- Procedure for The Safer Handling of the Heavier / Plus size Patient


Backcare, Royal College of Nursing and The National Back Exchange (2005). The Guide to the Handling of People. 5th Ed. Middlesex: Backcare.

Backcare, Royal College of Nursing and The National Back Exchange (2011). The Guide to the Handling of People a systems approach. 6th Ed. Middlesex: Backcare.

Health and Safety Commission (1998). Safe use of lifting equipment Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations. Approved Code of Practice and Guidance. Her Majesty’s Stationary Office. Norwich.

Health and Safety Executive (1992) as amended, Manual Handling Operations Regulations. 3rd Edition. Norwich. Health and Safety Executive.

National Back Exchange (2002). Essential Back-up, Northants, National Back Exchange. 

Resuscitation Council UK (2001). Guidance for safer handling during resuscitation in hospitals. London. Resuscitation Council (UK).

The Scottish Government and Health and Safety Executive (2014). The Scottish Manual Handling Passport. Scotland. Scottish Government.