Manual handling in churches

29 July 2022

Manual handling is the transporting or supporting of loads by hand or the use of bodily force. This includes lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving loads.

Man carrying heavy box


It is a common enough task in many church premises, but it is not without the risk of injury. Typical injuries include sprains, strains, cuts and even fractures. The types of loads can vary widely, including boxes, bulky or unwieldy furniture and general rubbish.

Manual handling and health and safety law

If you're an employer you must:

  • avoid the need for hazardous manual handling tasks so far as is reasonably practicable
  • complete adequate risk assessments for those hazardous tasks that cannot be avoided
  • implement any precautions identified by any risk assessment that reduces the risk of injury
  • provide certain information to employees.

Simple manual handling precautions you can take

Typical precautions include:

  • using a suitable lifting aid (for example, a trolley) that is properly maintained
  • avoiding lifting from floor level or above shoulder height, especially heavy loads
  • reducing carrying distances
  • making the load smaller or lighter and easier to lift
  • stacking boxes or other loads evenly
  • removing obstructions to free movement
  • avoiding  steps and steep ramps
  • improving lighting
  • using a couple of pairs of hands*.

*Note: this list is not exhaustive

Want to know more?

For more information about manual handling, why not download our guide.