Manual handling is the cause of more than a third of all workplace injuries, according to Health & Safety Executive figures.

Manual handling is any activity which requires the use of force by a person, such as lifting, lowering, restraining, pushing, pulling and carrying. Such tasks take place in almost all workplace environments including factories, warehouses, offices, farms, building sites, hotels, hospitals, etc. If any of these tasks are not carried out properly, injury could result.

Jane Couch, personal injury solicitor at WBW Solicitors in Newton Abbot, outlines your rights to compensation if you have been injured through manual handling tasks at work.

Types of injury

Lifting, stacking or pushing loads that are too heavy, the awkward posture you adopt when carrying out tasks, repetitive movements of your limbs or back, and previous or existing injuries all add to the risk of manual handling injuries being incurred.

The kinds of injuries which can result from manual handling include work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) such as pain and injuries to arms, legs and joints, various types of repetitive strain injuries (RSIs), muscle pulls and strains, trapped nerves, hernias and, most commonly, back problems.

Some manual handling injuries – like a strained muscle – can heal quickly, while others, such as a hernia can take longer. The symptoms of some such injuries can also take longer to appear than others and thus be exacerbated by continuing to work, which can result in lifelong problems such as chronic back pain.

Duties of an employer

Employers have a duty under health and safety law to assess the manual handling risks associated with your job and put sensible measures in place to prevent injury. They are also obliged to provide you with the right training and equipment to allow you to carry out your job safely.

If they do not comply, or if they make you do a dangerous manual handling task and you are injured as a result, you may be entitled to compensation.

How a solicitor can help

There are strict time limits for bringing any type of personal injury claim so you should seek legal advice as soon as your injury becomes apparent.

A solicitor can help collect the evidence, witness statements and medical reports needed to bring a compensation claim. They can help you claim compensation to cover your medical care and rehabilitation, as well as long term living and loss of earning costs if your injury is serious.

For more information on claiming compensation for a manual handling accident, or any other personal injury issue, contact Jane Couch at WBW Solicitors in Newton Abbot 01626 202404 or email


The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice.  The law may have changed since this article was published.  Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.