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How to claim compensation for manual handling at work injuries

Manual handling injuries are some of the most common injuries in the workplace. If you’ve suffered an injury that wasn’t your fault, speak to our expert solicitor team to claim compensation.

Last updated on July 21st, 2021

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Key points for making an injury claim

The most important things to remember when claiming for manual handling at work injuries:

  • Your employer must keep you safe under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations
  • You generally have three years from the date of the injury to make a claim
  • You can claim if your employer did not keep you safe with training or risk assessment
  • You can claim even if another employee caused the injury
  • You can claim on a no win, no fee basis.

Manual handling claims

The term ‘manual handling’ refers to moving loads from one space to another without using a machine.

This may involve lifting, putting items down, carrying, pushing or pulling. Manual handling at work requires strict training to ensure employees do not injure themselves – particularly when loads are heavy. In some cases, employers may offer assistive equipment such as a back brace.

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, it is your employer’s duty to keep you safe and minimise risk.

Manual handling injuries can occur if your employer does not train you or provide you with adequate equipment.

If your employer failed to take these responsibilities, we can help you make an accident at work compensation claim for your injuries.

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Risk factors with manual handling at work

There are many types of manual handling injuries that can occur in the workplace, whether you work in an office or on a construction site. Risk factors include:

  • The item weight
  • How often you pick up or carry the item
  • The distance you have to travel with the item
  • How far the item is from the ground
  • Any twisting, crouching or bending required to pick up the item

Any of these risk factors may result in manual handling common injuries such as musculoskeletal disorders, joint damage, or harm to the back and upper limbs.

Your workplace may also increase your risk, for example hospitals, farms and factories.

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What are manual handling injuries?

The most common types of manual handling injuries are sprains and strains. These may result in short or long-term pain, all of which we will consider when settling your manual handling compensation claim.

You may even have a long-term injury that was made worse by manual handling. We can help you to get the medical evidence you need to prove this.

Here are some other examples of injuries caused by poor manual handling:

  • Breaks and fractures
  • Hernia (organ displacement/protrusion due to strain)
  • Injuries to the upper and lower limb muscles
  • Internal injuries
  • Back and neck problems.

Certain workplaces may have higher risks, such as warehouses and construction sites. As such, employers must comply with the Manual Handling Operations 1992. If you’ve suffered a manual handling industry caused by employer negligence, we can help you to make a compensation claim.

How to claim for an accident at work

Want to know more about claiming for an accident at work. Jargon free, we’ll explain your legal rights, letting you know everything you need to know about claiming.

How much compensation can I claim for an accident at work?

Read our accident at work legal guides to understand your legal rights and how much compensation you may be able to claim.

Examples of manual handling injuries

Manual handling injuries are most often caused by lifting, resulting in sprains, strains and back issues. Your role may also influence the injury, for example, if you are a care worker who has to assist people getting in and out of bed.

Manual handling injuries caused by lifting

If you’ve not been trained to lift awkward or heavy objects appropriately, you may suffer a back injury. Under the Manual Handling Regulations 1992, your employer must:

  • Carry out risk assessments for heavy loads
  • Provide training in line with Health and Safety guidelines
  • Offer equipment where necessary.

If you’ve been injured at work, we can help with manual handling compensation claims on the basis that training or equipment has not been provided. Please contact us if you are not sure.

Manual handling back injury claims

Manual handling at work is most likely to result in back injuries, usually due to incorrect posture or not spreading the load between the back and legs appropriately. Back injuries are the most limiting because they can make walking difficult, or constrain even simple movements.

Similarly, back pain can be long-term, which can affect a person’s ability to do their job, or carry out their hobbies. This in turn may lead to depression. When you make a back injury compensation claim with us, we’ll consider every impact of your injury – not just the immediate damage, but the psychological effects.

In extreme cases, back injuries could be life-changing – for example, spinal cord damage. The seriousness of your injury is one of the key factors for deciding your total compensation amounts.

Back injuries are largely preventable with training and equipment. We can help you to make a back injury claim against your employer if you’ve been let down.

Muscular manual handling injuries

Musculoskeletal injuries are very common in jobs requiring any physical exertion – even lifting in the office. Sprains and strains can occur if employees repeatedly over-pull or twist tendons. You may experience pain over time, or it can come on suddenly due to being overstressed.

It is your employer’s duty to carry on risk assessments in the workplace, including for repetitive task. If you’ve become injured because your employer has not done this, you could claim compensation.

Manual handling accidents in care homes

Care home workers may be at risk of manual handling injuries due to repeated lifting – for example, moving patients out of their beds. Some care homes may provide hoists to help patients get out of bed, but if the employee is not properly trained, this may result in injury.

The most common lifting injuries in care homes are lower back pain, injured discs, strained muscles and torn ligaments. You can make a no win, no fee claim against your employer’s liability insurance if you’ve been injured through poor training or lack of equipment.

Manual handling at work

Manual handling injuries are some of the most common workplace injuries – accounting for one-third, according to the Health and Safety Executive.

Under guidelines from the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992, your employer must carry out risk assessments. These assessments may result in the need for equipment, which should be provided as part of your employer’s duty of care.

You may be able to make a no win, no fee manual handling compensation claim if your employer has not carried out this assessment, or failed to carry out the suggested actions.

Injuries caused by poor manual handling training are most common in:

  • Factories – for example, if employees push, pull or lift heavy loads
  • Construction sites – for example, moving drills, mixers, bricks or pallets
  • Care homes – for example, if workers do not have hoists to carry residents.

We understand the financial impact of an accident.

In 99% of cases, we recovered more compensation than the insurer’s first offer. We’ll provide financial security with our interim payments wherever possible, meaning you don’t need to rush into an offer that is lower than you’re legally entitled to.

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What is my employer’s responsibility when it comes to manual handling claims?

It is your employer’s responsibility to keep you safe under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. To avoid manual handling at work injury claims, employers must:

  • Regularly assess the workplace and try to prevent unnecessary manual handling at work
  • Carry out a risk assessment for any manual handling that could result in injury
  • Reduce the risk of manual handling, for example, by using equipment.

According to the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992, employers must carry out a risk assessment “where manual handling is unavoidable”. They must then act on its recommendations.

Similarly, this risk assessment should also consider the employees themselves, and the impact that the manual handling can have on individuals. The assessment should cover:

  • The worker’s strength and abilities
  • How often manual handling is required
  • The size and weight of the items
  • How far objects need to move
  • Providing adequate breaks.

Where employers can prevent risk, they should – for example, providing equipment to help with heavy loads.

What can I do to help as an employee?

If you are going to make a manual handling injury claim against your employer, you need to be able to prove that it was not your fault. If you cannot prove this, you may only be able to claim for the amount that was your employer’s fault. This is known as “split liability” and means that both you and your employer can take responsibility for the injury.

To avoid split liability, you must remember your responsibilities as an employee, which are:

  • To follow all health and safety guidelines as given by your employer
  • To alert your employer to any dangerous manual handling practices
  • To pay attention to your own actions and their effects on yourself or others
  • To use all safety equipment with full training as provided.

You can make a full claim for manual handling at work compensation if you believe your employer was totally at fault. Our expert lawyer team will help you to present your evidence and settle the biggest compensation amounts possible.

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Manual handling regulations

Under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (MHOR), employers must manage all manual handling risks. This is broken down into three key responsibilities:

  1. To avoid hazardous manual handling wherever possible
  2. To risk assess any unavoidable manual handling
  3. To reduce the risk of injury, for example, with equipment.

If you feel your employer has not met these obligations, and you have suffered an injury at work, our solicitors can help you with a no win, no fee compensation claim.

What if I was injured by another member of staff?

If you were injured at work by another member of staff, you may still be able to make a compensation claim. In these circumstances, the fault would lie with your employer, who has a duty to keep you safe – including making sure that other members of staff are behaving safely.

Our expert legal teams can help you to draft a claim against your employer, which will not affect the business or your colleague. Compensation payments are paid by your employer’s liability insurance.

How to prevent manual handling injuries

You can prevent manual handling common injuries by carrying out risk assessments in the workplace. A set of guidelines commonly followed by employers is known as TILE:

  1. TASK: Think about how the object will be moved – will it require pushing, lifting or carrying?
  2. INDIVIDUAL: Check if the employee is physically strong and capable enough to carry out the task.
  3. LOAD: See how heavy, large and awkwardly shaped the object is. It may need two people to carry.
  4. ENVIRONMENT: Look at the route before you move the object. Are there steps, uneven floors or wet surfaces?

Your employer should also:

  • Eliminate risks or provide equipment
  • Train personnel or only allow trained personnel to take part
  • Store documentation with all up-to-date training records.

If your employer has taken every duty of care to follow these steps, you may need additional evidence to make a compensation claim. Workplace accidents are not totally avoidable, but your employer should do everything to minimise risk. If you have been injured and you feel you were not to blame, we can help you to present the evidence to support your manual handling compensation claim.

What can I claim for with manual handling injuries?

When you make a manual handling at work injury claim, you need to be able to prove that you were injured, and that your employer was at fault. Our personal injury solicitors can help you to gather the evidence to support your claim.

We’ll assess your compensation amounts based on three things: the seriousness of your injury, loss of earnings, and the impact the injury has had on your life. If we can prove that your employer was at fault, we can make a compensation claim against their liability insurance.

How much is my claim worth?

How much your manual handling compensation claim is worth depends on your circumstances. At Express Solicitors, we have 20 years’ experience settling personal injury compensation claims that others ignore – and we’ve won millions of pounds in the process.

We’ll assess your claim based on your injuries, known as general damages, and loss of earnings, known as ‘special damages’. We’ll also look at the long-term impact on your life, for example mobility or psychological damage. Our claims operate on a no win, no fee basis, so if you don’t win, you won’t have to pay a penny.

Though there is no specific compensation amount for a manual handling injury, the Judicial Board Guidelines have example amounts based on injuries to specific body parts. For example:

  • Back injuries resulting in permanent symptoms can be worth as much as £55,000
  • Neck injuries resulting in serious damage can be worth as much as £100,000.

We leave no stone unturned when it comes to getting you the biggest no win, no fee settlement as possible. Get in touch with us to see how much you could claim for your manual handling injury.

How long will my manual handling compensation claim take?

Claiming for manual handling at work can take anything from three to nine months to years. For example, you may have a long-term back injury that you did not realise was connected to manual handling at work, which may be years from the original injury date.

Generally, we aim to have all workplace injury claims settled within a few months. These take less time than other claims such as medical negligence, as there is legal documentation. However, we pride ourselves on going above and beyond to get you the biggest compensation settlement possible – so please bear with us.

We can help you with early compensation payments (interim payments) to cover costs while you’re waiting for your final amounts.

What are the time limits to claiming for a manual handling injury?

Generally, you have three years from the date of your injury to make a claim, or the date the symptoms were matched to a workplace incident. For example, you may have had a long-term condition that was made worse by manual handling at work. If you can provide medical evidence that your workplace made it worse, then you have three years to claim from the date of your diagnosis.

The following are exceptions to the manual handling claims time limits:

  • If the injury happened abroad, compensation time limits may differ. Please ask us if you’re not sure.
  • If your injury caused you to be ‘mentally incapacitated’ – for example, you were brain damaged – there is no time limit.
  • If a piece of equipment was found to be faulty, you will have three years from the date this was discovered.

How the manual handling compensation claims process works

You can start to make your no win, no fee manual handling compensation claim straight away. We generally advise that you start your claim as soon as you feel well enough to do so. This helps us to gather the most accurate evidence to support your claim.

  1. Your claim will start with a friendly consultation call with one of our legal advisors. We’ll discuss your manual handling injuries, and any evidence you can provide to support your case. We can help you to gather this – you can use witness statements, photographs, medical records and details of any training records at work.
  2. Once we have all your evidence, our expert solicitors will start to assess your claim based on your injury, loss of earnings and long-term impacts. We’ll come up with a proposed compensation amount and make a claim against your employer’s liability insurance.
  3. If your employer accepts responsibility, you’ll receive your compensation payment. While you’re waiting, we may be able to offer early compensation payments. These may help if you are not currently earning. Remember, we work on a no win, no fee basis – you only pay if we win.

Why choose Express Solicitors?

Our experienced solicitor team offers two decades’ experience handling workplace injury compensation claims. We operate all claims on a no win, no fee basis, so you can rest assured you will not be out of pocket. We pride ourselves in taking on the manual handling claims that no one else will, so no matter how insignificant your injury may seem, you should get in touch. We’ll talk you through the process and legal rights, and work to get you the compensation you deserve.

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