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The legislative information contained on this web site is my interpretation of the law based on many years in the health and safety business. A definitive interpretation can only be given by the courts. I will therefore not be held responsible for any accident/incident/prosecution arising as a consequence of anyone using any information obtained from this web site.

manual handling. the three armed man

three armed manThis picture, along with a similar one for women, has been around ever since the manual handling regulations came into force in 1992. It is the cause of much confusion as it seems to suggest that a person should not pick up loads weighing more than 25 Kg unaided.

That is NOT what it means and yet I'm familiar with large numbers of companies who will not accept loads greater than 25 Kg in weight for delivery. Similarly there are companies who have changed their products/packaging over the years so that nothing weighs more than 25 Kg.

What the picture is really doing is showing the change in safe weight when the load is carried in different positions starting with the best position which is close to the body and level with the waist with arms roughly straight. In the picture this is shown as 25 Kg.

The other positions shown indicate the "safe" load relative to someone carrying a 25 Kg load in the safest position. For example, reaching out at head height would reduce the safe load to 5 Kg.

The 25 Kg shown is an arbitrary figure that is easy to divide up to get to the other figures. It does NOT indicate the safe load for anyone! The HSE, who devised the picture to help, could have picked any figure to put there or they could have used 25 pounds.

As usual with these things. it has been misinterpreted over the years and the notes that accompany it have been completely ignored.

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