Manual handling

Principle and statement of intent

The health, safety and welfare of all the people who work or attend Bumbles Day Care are of fundamental importance. Lifting is an inevitable part of a typical day in a childcare setting. Lifting children, picking up toys and carrying toy boxes are just a few tasks that require a child carers back to be in good shape. The purpose of this policy is to develop and ensure work practices that incorporate safe manual handling. The standards and principles take into account:

  • HSENI (The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland) states– All workers have a right to work in places where risks to their health and safety are properly controlled.
  • Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 – concerned with all manual handling activities regardless of weight.


Manual handling is defined as the transporting or supporting of a by hand or some other part of the body, including the lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying, moving or intentionally dropping or throwing a load. Bumbles Day Care has a moral and legal responsibility to its employees, paid or voluntary, to reduce the risk of work associated back problems and other lifting and carrying injuries.

Risk assessments will be carried out regularly to:

  • Identify risks – discuss issues with staff and check past records of incidents/accidents.
  • Assess risks – how much strain, pressure, stress, weight, force, grip, skill and duration is required for each activity.
  • Control risks – when designing tasks in order to minimise injury, we will look at changing the way jobs are done, changing the layout of the workplace and changing the equipment.
  • Storage of equipment – Every reasonable effort will be made to store all heavy equipment below shoulder height

Childcare professionals are at a much higher risk than the average person when it comes to suffering from back injuries due to the types of loads involved. The most common cause of low back problems comes from stretching muscles, tendons and ligaments leading to inflammation, swelling and pain. The key to minimizing back pain is prevention. By bending correctly back strain can be prevented. However, it should be noted that at Bumbles Day Care we discourage unnecessary lifting of children.

Guidelines for lifting

  • Staff must never twist while lifting.
  • When staff need to lift a child or object they should not stretch over and lift, but lean close and raise as close as possible to their body.
  • When lifting staff must:-
    • place their feet apart in a striding position
    • keep their breastbone elevated
    • bend their knees
    • brace their stomach muscles
    • hold child or object close to their body
    • move their feet not their spine to stand up
    • prepare to move in a forward direction.
  • Staff should transfer heavy items to smaller containers to reduce weight.
  • Staff should:-
    • kneel where possible
    • avoid sitting on child sized chairs where possible
    • refrain from carrying children on their hip
    • lift children with one arm under their buttocks and the other arm under their backs, with the child facing them.