Moving and Handling

Scope of this chapter

Moving and handling is often a key part of the work we do. It includes the moving and handling of objects and also moving and handling activities carried out as part of providing mobility support to people using the service.

If we do not undertake these tasks safely there can be negative consequences for our own health and the health and dignity of the people that we support.

This chapter provides good practice advice and guidance for general moving and handling. It is the responsibility of the registered person to ensure that someone’s moving and handling needs are understood, and that staff are suitably skilled and competent to use equipment.

Relevant Regulations

Related Chapters and Guidance

Under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (amended 2002), the registered person must ensure that there is a moving and handling policy in place whenever moving and handling activities are to be carried out.

The policy must cover:

  1. A statement setting out the services' commitment to managing all moving and handling risks;
  2. Details of who is responsible for what i.e., staff, managers and any named persons;
  3. Details of the risk assessment process/processes for moving and handling activities;
  4. A statement setting out the services’ commitment to implementing measures to reduce assessed risks;
  5. How training is provided;
  6. How moving and handling equipment is provided and maintained;
  7. What systems are in place for monitoring compliance with the policy;
  8. Information for staff on reporting injuries or pain caused by moving and handling activities.

Our moving and handling policy should be found in the local resources area of this Handbook.

See: Local Resources

If you cannot find it, speak to a manager or the registered person who can provide a copy.

Moving and handling risks should be assessed through 2 assessments.

  1. Generic (risks that apply across the service);
  2. Specific (risks that apply to a specific type of equipment or that relate to the individual mobility support needs of a person being supported by the service).

People carrying out moving and handling risk assessments must be suitably competent, skilled and knowledgeable to do so.

Different risks may need to be assessed by different people, and external advice and recommendations may need to be sought to ensure the risks are fully understood. For example, from an Occupational Therapist or the manufacturer of the equipment.

The Health and Safety Executive provides extensive guidance for assessing all moving and handling risks on their website.

HSE: What you need to do - Moving and handling - Carrying out a risk assessment

Risk assessments must be recorded and shared with staff and, where applicable, the person being supported. They should also be made available upon request to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Care Quality Commission (CQC) or commissioning bodies as part of an inspection.

Moving and handling risk assessments must be reviewed on a regular basis and whenever there is evidence that moving and handling risks have changed. For example, if a person’s needs have increased and they are being provided with a hoist. 

The following are resources to support risk assessment and safe use of specific moving and handling equipment:

HSE: Getting to grips with hoisting people

HSE: Lifting equipment at work

HSE: Safe use of bed rails

HSE: Electric profiling beds

Examples of moving and handling equipment include:

  • Hoists;
  • Bath lifts or hoists;
  • Slings;
  • Slide sheets;
  • Transfer boards;
  • Turntables;
  • Electric profiling beds;
  • Wheelchairs;
  • Walking aids - frames, handrails;
  • Handling belts;
  • Lifting cushions;
  • Bed rails and levers;
  • Emergency evacuation equipment;
  • Any other equipment provided after assessment to support with mobility and transfers.

There are things that we can all do to help manage generic risks.

Before lifting

  • Remove obstructions along the route;
  • Consider how you can minimise carrying distances;
  • Assess the weight of the object to be carried and whether you can move the load safely or not – is it a 2 person job? - maybe the load can be broken down to smaller components;
  • Think about any need to rest part way through the lift or change grip.

During lifting

  • Wear suitable clothing and footwear;
  • Avoid stooping or squatting - don't lock out the back or legs;
  • Avoid twisting, leaning, stooping and reaching;
  • Avoid lifting from floor level or above shoulder height, especially heavy loads;
  • Keep the load close to your waist;
  • Keep the heaviest side of the load closest to your body;
  • Make sure you are stable - feet apart with one leg slightly forward;
  • Keep your back straight and head up - make sure you can see where you are going;
  • Move smoothly when lifting and walking.

The act of moving and handling people should be safe for both staff and the person being supported.

It is also important to maintain dignity at all times - remember you are moving a person with feelings, not an inanimate object.

Before moving and handling

  • Make sure you know how to use equipment;
  • Make sure the equipment appears to be safe for use - know what to do if it doesn’t;
  • Make sure equipment that is used by more than one person is clean;
  • Make sure equipment is ready for the move e.g., brakes on;
  • Make sure you know how the person in question likes/needs to be supported to maintain dignity and ensure specific risks are managed;
  • Know whether the move requires 2 staff members or one;
  • Know what to do if the move does not go to plan;
  • Remove obstacles;
  • Prepare the person ahead of the move, if they require advance warning.

During the mobility support

  • Wear suitable clothing and footwear;
  • Relax and don’t rush;
  • Work to the instructions in the care or support plan;
  • Use equipment correctly/safely - don’t cut any corners;
  • Make sure you are stable - feet apart with one leg slightly forward;
  • Keep your back straight and head up - make sure you can see where you are going;
  • Move smoothly when lifting and walking;
  • If working with a colleague, coordinate and use clear communication throughout;
  • Talk and reassure the person being supported throughout the move.


  • Make sure the person is comfortable and not in any pain;
  • Record and report any changes in the person’s needs that may require a reassessment of need or risk;
  • Put anything you moved out of the way back to where it was;
  • Clean the equipment and make sure it is ready and safe for future use - report any concerns.

For further guidance see: Mobility Support 

Nobody must undertake the moving and handling of objects until they have received the relevant training or instruction to do so.

Nobody must use equipment until they have been appropriately trained and supervised.

Induction plans should set out training requirements.

If anyone has concerns about their ability to carry out moving and handling tasks safely, those concerns must be raised swiftly to a manager or the registered person. The manager or registered person must take those concerns seriously and arrange any appropriate training or supervision to develop competence.

Whilst developing skills and competence, staff must receive appropriate levels of supervision or support from colleagues or a relevant professional. That person must be able to assess when the staff member is able to complete the moving and handling task independently.

Under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, the registered person has a legal responsibility to ensure that all moving and handling equipment being used is:

  1. Suitable for use for the purpose and conditions in which it is to be used;
  2. Maintained in a safe condition for use so that people’s health and safety is not at risk;
  3. Inspected, in certain circumstances, to ensure that it is and continues to be safe for use. Any inspection should be carried out by a competent person (this could be a staff member if they have the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to perform the task) and a record kept until the next inspection.

For further guidance see:

HSE: Providing and using work equipment safely

HSE: Equipment safety

All incidents of moving and handling poor practice must be properly recorded, reported and investigated in line with the process for recording, reporting and investigating accidents, injuries and incidents.

See: Accidents, Injuries and Incidents

If the incident of moving and handling poor practice is or may be abuse or neglect, a safeguarding concern should also be raised to the local authority.

See: Recognising Abuse and Neglect

See: Disclosure and Raising a Concern

All staff must not use equipment that appears to be faulty or unsafe. Systems must be in place to report such concerns and rectify the problem. If problems cannot be rectified, a contingency plan must be in place.

There may be a legal requirement to report incidents of unsafe moving and handling to the Health and Safety Executive, Care Quality Commission or commissioning body.

See: Accidents, Injuries and Incidents

If serious physical or psychological harm has occurred, the duty of candour may also apply.

See: Duty of Candour

Last Updated: March 24, 2022