This Directive lays down minimum health and safety requirements for the manual handling of loads where there is a risk particularly of back injury to workers.
Definition of the term “manual handling of loads”.
Employers shall take appropriate organizational measures, or shall use the appropriate means, in particular mechanical equipment, in order to avoid the need for the manual handling of loads by workers. Where the need for the manual handling of loads by workers cannot be avoided, the employer shall take the appropriate organizational measures, use the appropriate means or provide workers with such means in order to reduce the risk involved in the manual handling of such loads, having regard to Annex I.
Wherever the need for manual handling of loads by workers cannot be avoided, the employer shall organize workstations in such a way as to make such handling as safe and healthy as possible and assess, in advance if possible, the health and safety conditions of the type of work involved, and in particular examine the characteristics of loads, taking account of Annex I as well as to take care to avoid or reduce the risk particularly of back injury to workers, by taking appropriate measures, considering in particular the characteristics of the working environment and the requirements of the activity, taking account of Annex I.
Workers and/or their representatives shall be informed of all measures to be implemented, pursuant to this Directive, with regard to the protection of safety and of health. Employers must ensure that workers and/or their representatives receive general indications and, where possible, precise information on the weight of a load and on the centre of gravity of the heaviest side when a package is eccentrically loaded. Employers must ensure that workers receive in addition proper training and information on how to handle loads correctly and the risks they might be open to particularly if these tasks are not performed correctly, having regard to Annexes I and II.
Moreover, the provisions of Directive 89/391/EEC - "the Framework Directive" - are fully applicable without prejudice to more restrictive and/or specific provisions contained in this Directive.
Annex I: Reference factors
- Characteristics of the load
- Physical effort required
- Characteristics of the working environment
- Requirements of the activity
Annex II: Individual risk factors
See also further documents of the European Commission on that topic:
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of Regions on the practical implementation of the provisions of the Health and Safety at Work Directives 89/391 (Framework), 89/654 (Workplaces), 89/655 (Work Equipment), 89/656 (Personal Protective Equipment), 90/269 (Manual Handling of Loads) and 90/270 (Display Screen Equipment)
Evaluation of the Practical Implementation of the EU Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Directives in EU Member States - Directive on the minimum health and safety requirements for the manual handling of loads where there is a risk particularly of back injury to workers (2017)