Advice On The Manual Handling Weight Limit For Workplaces

By Danielle Nicholson. Last Updated 13th April 2023. Did you know that there is a manual handling weight limit that people can safely lift? And did you know that if you sustain an injury in the workplace due to a manual handling accident that wasn’t your fault, you could claim compensation from your employer?

We have created this guide to help you understand the injuries you could suffer if you lift more than the manual handling maximum weight. We also want to help you understand in which situations you could make a workplace injury claim against your employer for those injuries.

Manual handling weight limit for workplaces guide

Manual handling weight limit for workplaces guide

Here at Advice.co.uk, we provide guidance on a variety of different personal injury claims. While this guide focuses on answering common questions about the maximum weight that can be lifted at work and how to claim for a workplace injury, our advisors could also offer free legal advice over the phone on these and other cases.

They could even put you in touch with a No Win No Fee personal injury lawyer that could help you receive the compensation you deserve. If you have a claim you’d like help with, why not call our expert advisors for a free case assessment on 0161 696 9685?

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A Guide To The Workplace Manual Handling Weight Limit

The Health & Safety Executive identifies manual handling as one of the most common causes of injuries in the workplace – a third of all workplace injuries are attributed to manual handling tasks, and legislation and work safety guidelines call for employers to take measures against the potential risks.

All employers owe a duty of care to their employees under the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. This duty of care is a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of their employees as best as they practically can and to ensure that they do not put them at risk of harm.

Employers could be found liable for causing an injury if it was sustained because they breached this duty of care. While there is no legal weight limit for manual handling, there are still guidelines on lifting procedures and the safe lifting weight for a person to carry. If your injury arose because an employer either failed to follow these or properly train you, you could be eligible to make a claim against them.

This guide will go into detail about manual handling task claims. It will detail several safe lifting and manual handling task guidelines and show you when you could be eligible to make a claim and how to start a claim for injuries sustained because of manual lifting accidents.

Alternatively, get in touch with our advisors for personalised legal advice.

Manual Handling And Lifting Compensation Calculator

Before we discuss the appropriate weight limit in more detail, let us discuss the injuries and compensation amounts appropriate for those injuries.

How Manual Handling Weight Limit Damages Are Calculated

To evidence your injuries, you would need to attend an appointment with an independent medical professional. They would review your medical notes, examine you and write a medical report that details your condition. It should also contain their professional opinion on your prognosis. This could be used to work out how much compensation could be appropriate for your claim.

Manual Handling Claims – Compensation Guidelines

One of the heads of losses in a successful claim is general damages. This relates to the psychological and physical injuries caused as a result of the negligence. The Judicial College Guidelines can give you with a clearer idea of your potential general damages compensation.

The latest publication from 2022 has supplied these up-to-date figures. However, please bear in mind that these figures are just guidelines only as every claim is unique.

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Injury Notes Guideline Compensation Bracket
Neck injuries (Severe) (ii) Cervical spine disc fractures or damage that are serious. These could lead to disabilities that are considerably severe, such as loss of function in one limb or more, permanent brachial plexus damage, or substantial movement loss in the neck. £65,740 to £130,930
Neck injury (Severe) (iii) These awards would be calculated based on the length of time before the most serious of symptoms were ameliorated, the prognosis and the extent to which treatment was needed. Injuries in this bracket could include severe soft tissue damage, rupture to tendons, dislocations and fractures. They would lead to significant permanent disability and chronic conditions. £45,470 to £55,990
Neck injury (Moderate) (i) Injured parties would suffer severe symptoms immediately. Spinal fusion may be necessary following dislocation or fracture. Chronic conditions could also be included in this bracket, usually where there are referred symptoms to other body parts, or severe soft tissue damage to both the back and the neck. £24,990 to £38,490
Neck injury (Moderate) (ii) Cases in this bracket could include severe disc lesions or soft tissue wrenching injuries. Cervical spondylosis could feature, or serious limitations of movement, as well as recurring pain, stiffness and discomfort. Increased risk of future harm could also feature as could a need for future surgery. In addition, accelerations or exacerbations of pre-existing conditions over 5 years could be included within this bracket. £13,740 to £24,990
Neck injury (Moderate) (iii) Accelerations or exacerbations of pre-existing conditions over a shorter period of time could be included within this bracket. £7,890 to £13,740
Back injuries (Severe) (ii) Cases that have special features taking them above other brackets for orthopaedic injuries. These could include damage to the nerve roots causing sensation loss, impairment of bladder or bowel function, mobility impairment, scarring and sexual difficulties. £74,160 to £88,430
Back injuries (Severe) (iii) Lesions or fractures to discs or vertebral bodies, or soft tissue damage causing chronic conditions. Despite treatment, continuing disabilities would remain. These disabilities could include severe discomfort/pain, agility impairment depression, change of personality, arthritis risk and impairment of sexual function. £38,780 to £69,730
Back injuries (Moderate) (i) Disabilities would be less severe than the above bracket. A wide variety of injuries could be placed in this bracket such as crush injuries to the lumbar vertebrae causing constant pain and risk of osteoarthritis. Other examples could include prolapsed discs requiring surgery, or intervertebral disc damage with irritation at the nerve root causing reduced mobility. £27,760 to £38,780
Back injuries (Moderate) (ii) Frequently encountered back injuries, which could include muscle/ligament disturbance causing backache. £12,510 to £27,760
Back injuries (Minor) Less serious disc prolapses, strains and sprains. Up to £12,510

If you would like to learn more about UK manual handling regulations or just want to see if you can claim, please contact us for a free consultation using the details above.

Damages For Manual Handling Weight Limit Accidents And Injuries

If you’re claiming compensation for a back injury, neck injury, or another injury caused by a workplace accident involving manual handling, you could be eligible to claim for general damages and special damages.

General Damages

The non-pecuniary (non-financial) compensation you could claim for the suffering, pain and loss of amenity you endure due to your injuries fall under general damages. Lawyers calculate these by assessing all the evidence and facts surrounding your injury. The figures in the table above are representative of general damages.

Special Damages

Special damages relate to the quantifiable financial expenses associated with your injuries. You would have to provide proof of any costs or losses you’ve experienced as a direct result of your accident and injuries to claim for them. Different types of special damages are described below.

Care Costs

In some cases, if you sustain injuries that result in you not being able to dress, wash, or feed yourself, you might require care at home. You could include care costs as special damages within your claim. This includes both professional care and care you may receive from friends and family members. 

Travel Costs

These could include costs that you incur from travelling to medical appointments or to meet with your personal injury lawyer.

Medical Expenses

You could claim medical expenses such as private physiotherapy costs, counselling fees or prescription costs as special damages.

Loss Of Income

If you take unpaid time off work because you need to recover from your injuries, you could claim any loss of income you suffer as a result. Loss of earnings claims could also include overtime and bonuses.

What Are Workplace Manual Handling Weight Limits?

Further down the article, this guide will discuss the manual handling weight limit in the UK. The reason there is a weight limit for manual handling relates to employee safety. This means that you may be able to claim if you have evidence showing that your employer asked you to lift an object that is heavier than specified in the regulations, causing your injury.

Before we look at the manual handling weight limit, we should mention that manual handling does not only include lifting and lowering loads. The Manual Operations Handling Regulations 1992 include pushing and pulling and carrying activities, which could also pose a risk of injury.

According to manual handling guidelines on the HSE website, the manual handling weight limit depends on various factors. There is no specific weight limit contained in the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 2002. 

Later on in this guide, we show some lifting and lowering manual handling guidance from the HSE website, but these should not necessarily be used as ‘safe limits’. However, working outside of these ‘limits’ could increase a person’s risk of injury.

Guidelines On Safe Manual Handling

According to the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992, an employer’s responsibilities could be broken down into three measures: avoid, assess and reduce.

Employers should try to avoid their staff performing manual handling activities that pose a risk of injury. Of course, this is not always possible. In such cases, your employer should see if they could take steps to reduce the risk. They could opt to provide lifting equipment to help reduce the risk of injury, for example.

If your employer has not taken steps to protect your safety and health at work by not following the requirements of the manual handling regulations 1992, you could make a claim against them for injuries you sustain as a result.

What Is The Maximum Weight You Can Lift At Work?

If you’re wondering what is the maximum weight that can be lifted at work, you might be interested in the image below. We have reproduced this image from the HSE website, which shows the ‘safe zones’ for lifting as well as suggested weight limits for lifting and lowering activities. You will note that there are different limits for women and men.

Source: https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg143.pdf

Manual Handling And Lifting Limits – Examples Of Injuries If This Is Exceeded

When your job involves manual handling, the weight limit that you can lift based on your weight and height should be considered. You should also be provided with adequate training to perform your work-related duties safely. If your employer fails to do so as part of their duty of care, you may injure yourself.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), manual handling is responsible for more than a third of injuries in the workplace. If you exceed the maximum weight to lift at work, you could sustain a number of injuries. For example:

However, it’s important to note that not all manual handling injuries can be claimed for. You would need to demonstrate negligence in order to seek compensation. Get in touch for free and our advisors can confirm your eligibility to claim for an accident at work. Additionally, they can discuss manual handling lifting limits.

Injuries Associated With Manual Handling Limits – What’s The Claim Time Limits?

If you exceeded the manual handling max weight limit and injured yourself, you might be eligible for compensation. However, you will need to prove that your employer’s negligence caused your injury, such as them failing to provide you with sufficient manual handling training.

It is worth noting that everyone’s manual handling limits will be different. Previously in this guide, we provided the HSE’s manual handling weight limit guidelines for men and women.

All personal injury claims must be made within the relevant time limit, as stated in the Limitation Act 1980. Typically, you will have three years to start your claim from the date you were injured.

However, this time limit is suspended in certain circumstances. In these cases, a court-appointed litigation friend could make a claim on their behalf.

The exceptions to the 3-year time limit are made for:

  • Those under the age of 18. The time limit is paused until their 18th If a litigation friend has not started proceedings on their behalf, they will have three years from the day they turn 18 to do so.
  • The time limit is indefinitely suspended for those who lack the mental capacity to make a claim for themself. However, if they regain this capacity and a litigation friend has not started proceedings on their behalf, they will have three years from that date to do so.

Call our advisors to discuss the manual handling weight limit in the UK. Additionally, they could advise whether you may have a valid claim.

What Should You Do If You Are Injured In A Manual Handling Accident?

If you are injured in a manual handling accident, there are certain steps you may need to take:

  1. Report the accident to your employer. Your employer may have to report your injury under RIDDOR.
  2. Get medical attention. Whether you sustain a knee injury from twisting, a lower back injury or a spinal injury, you should take steps to get the most appropriate advice and treatment for your injury. Seeing a doctor early on could also help to evidence your injury. However, you would also have to see an independent medical expert as part of your claim.
  3. Take photographs of the scene and your injuries. If you’ve been told to lift something over the manual handling weight limit, it could be a good idea to get a photo of the load’s weight.
  4. Get witness contact details. If anyone witnessed the incident, it could be a good idea to take their contact details.
  5. Get legal advice. Our advisors could provide free legal advice to you over the phone. They could also connect you with a workplace injury lawyer to help you with a claim.

No Win No Fee Manual Handling & Lifting Accidents

If an employer has not adhered to the manual handling weight limits, and you were injured as a result, you could potentially claim. Lifting more than the advised maximum weight to lift at work could lead to serious injuries that you could potentially hold your employer liable for.

A solicitor could help you make your claim and do so on a No Win No Fee basis. This means they would not require a fee to take on or manage your claim and could help you prove your that your employer had asked you to perform a task that could be considered beyond a safe manual handling weight limit in the UK, leading to your injury.

They would only take payment for their services in the event your claim is successful and you are awarded compensation. This would be in the form of a legally capped success fee. To see if a No Win No Fee solicitor could help you make your claim today, please reach out to one of our advisers.

Contact Us

Now you know more about the manual handling weight limit, you may be wondering whether you could make a claim for your injuries. If so, we could help. You can call us at any time for free legal advice relating to your personal injury claim. We could check your eligibility to claim and we could even put you in touch with a personal injury solicitor to help you. To speak to our friendly expert team, simply:

More Information

In this final section, we have included links to information we believe you may find useful when it comes to manual handling weight limit personal injury claims.

The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 – You can find legislation on lifting equipment here.

Did You Sustain A Back Injury? – Back pain advice can be found on the NHS website, via this link.

Manual Handling Guidance For Carers – Here, you can obtain guidance on lifting people.

Partially To Blame For A Workplace Accident – Here, you could find out if you could claim for an accident you are partially at fault for.

Back Injury At Work Claims – There are other ways in which you could injure your back at work. Why not find out if you could make a claim by reading this guide?

Advice On Industrial Injury Claims – You can find out more about making an industrial injury claim here.

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