Manual Handling Injury Compensation Claims

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Employers must comply with their statutory duties in providing adequate manual handling training or risk assessments. You can claim compensation if you have been injured through lifting or moving objects if it can be proven your employer has been negligent.

Table of contents

What is a manual handling injury?

Any workplace task that requires an individual to lift, move or support a load is a manual handling task. The Health and Safety Executive define it as: “Transporting or supporting of a load (including the lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving thereof) by hand or by bodily force.”

Over a third of reportable workplace injuries occur after an incident of manual handling. They represent a large proportion of the accident at work compensation claims we deal with. The majority arise as a direct result of employers failing to pay the necessary attention to manual handling safety. These claims will succeed if it can be shown that the employer has been negligent.

Manual handling injuries can be linked to any work involving the handling of loads, even light items. Those known to be at high risk include care workers, manufacturing staff, agricultural and construction workers. It should be noted however, that any person in any workplace is at risk of a manual handling injury.

Commonly, manual handling injuries involve the back and muscle strains, and can be a very serious matter. They can limit mobility, affect independence and often leave people struggling to work and maintain their usual day-to-day lifestyle. Claiming compensation can help you to recover physically and financially.

What does the law state?

If employers are tasking staff members to lift items, it doesn’t matter what weight the items are, they must ensure workers are correctly trained and provided with the right know-how and tools to work safely. Further, the employer is responsible for the maintenance and safety of lifting equipment, for example hoists, platforms, or forklifts.

Employers should look at the task to be performed, the working environment and individual capabilities. Staff members should be shown how to lift items safely, and know when something is too heavy to lift alone or without mechanical help.

Manual handling regulations require employers to:

  • Minimise incorrect and dangerous manual handling practices so far as is reasonably practicable
  • Review potentially hazardous manual handling tasks that are unavoidable
  • Ensure that steps have been taken that will minimise and help to avoid the risk of manual handling injury so far as is reasonably practicable

Regardless of the kind of workplace, employers must by law ensure:

  • That staff are adequately trained in how to lift items safely, identify heavy items and be provided with the correct equipment and working environment to follow such training
  • That any equipment provided to staff to enable them to lift heavier items are regularly maintained and repaired
  • That any equipment reported or found to be faulty or dangerous are removed from use

When can you make a manual handling injury claim?

Whilst claims are usually associated with jobs that include repeated lifting, such as in warehouses, factories, construction sites and shops, they can happen in any workplace. Even office jobs can see employees suffer manual handling injuries.

Common scenarios leading to manual handling injury compensation include:

  • Employers failing to provide manual handling guidance or training
  • Not advising staff of the risks of lifting incorrectly
  • Forcing people to lift weights heavier than they should
  • Refusing or failing to provide lifting equipment
  • A working environment that prevents people from working and lifting safely

Employers that fail to ensure full training, guidance and a safe ‘lifting and moving’ policy will be liable should any related injuries happen to their staff. Any person injured in this way at work is entitled to make a claim for personal injury compensation.

Why make a compensation claim?

Claiming personal injury compensation can help to ease the problems caused by your injuries. Our claimants are often in a considerable amount of pain, unable to move freely, sleep comfortably or work and earn their regular salary. Recovering from manual handling injuries can take many months, and it is often the case that victims never feel like they have fully recovered and discomfort is felt whenever they attempt any physical task or need to lift items.

As well as claiming a financial settlement if you have been injured at work, compensation can also help you in other ways:

  • Making a claim is your legal right, and fairly compensates you for injuries that were not your fault
  • It can pay for private medical treatment and rehabilitation therapies to speed your recovery
  • It can make up for lost income now and in the future if you are prevented from working again

As all claims are made on a No Win No Fee basis, you will never be charged if your claim does not succeed.

Specialist rehabilitation therapies

Once your solicitor has obtained an admission of liability from your employer’s insurers, your claim will succeed. At this point, your solicitor can look to help you to recover more quickly by obtaining specialist rehabilitation therapy. In the case of a manual handling injury, such rehabilitation would most likely involve osteopathic, chiropractic, physio or massage therapies. Any treatments will be provided at the expense of the third party dealing with your claim.

Compensation amounts

Settlement values vary from case to case, and are comprised of what are known as general and special damages. General damages cover the injury itself and the effect it has on your life. For instance, whether the injury affects your ability to earn money, do your job, perform your usual activities outside work and how long you are likely to experience such problems. Special damages cover the financial costs you incur because of the injury – medical treatments, travel expenses, property damage, for example.

The table below provides a guide to average compensation amounts for back injuries suffered at work, not including the special damages element of a claim:

Severity of back injuryCompensation amount
Recovering within a few monthsup to £1,860
Recovering within a few years£1,860 – £6,000
Recovering within 2-5 years£6,000 – £9,500
Permanent symptoms£9,500 – £21,100
Serious permanent symptoms£21,100 – £29,475
Chronic permanent symptoms£29,475 – £53,000
Significant permanent impact£53,000 – £67,200

How Direct2Compensation can help with your claim

If you have suffered a manual handling-related injury at work or anywhere else, it is important to make sure that the details of your accident have been recorded properly. Medical attention should also be sought for any injuries that you have sustained. If you haven’t done this already, we can help you to do so.

Direct2Compensation are experts in managing injury at work compensation claims. We know your rights and can help you to understand whether you are likely to win compensation. We can advise you on important issues and how the no win no fee claims process works.

With our easy to understand claims process and ability to handle your claim quickly, simply and transparently, there are many reasons that make us the right choice when it comes to starting your manual handling claim.

To find out more about your compensation rights or to start your claim today, call us on 01225 430285 or if you prefer, we can call you back.

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Questions & Answers

  1. Jill

    I have had to quit my job after 11 years as a cleaner recently because of a back complaint. I never received manual handling training as pointed out to me today by my brother who has a manual job and has received training. Would this be classed as work related injury and could I claim?

    • Ian Morris

      If you believe that your back problem is work related, you can seek to make a claim against your employer. Under UK law, if an employer has failed to fulfil their statutory obligation to provide you with manual handling training, you could succeed with a claim against them.

      If you would like to take this further, please use the contact us options on our website and we’ll gladly help you with this matter.

  2. Angela

    I work in the nhs and hurt my back removing the end off an operating table, the muscles in my neck and back were pulled badly I have had physio, this hasn’t helped and I have had to cut down my hours of work because of this. I was off work for three and a half months, I am now back at work on a phase to return but finding it difficult to do my job as it’s very demanding at times, do you think I have a claim?

    • Ian Morris

      To succeed with a claim for compensation for the injury to your back, we would need to establish negligence against the employer and show that the injury was avoidable. In this case, we need to know how you were injured and whether there was a fault with the operating table end that caused you to be injured or whether the end of the table was heavy and you were unaware of this as a risk of injury.

      If you could elaborate further on these points, I can advise you further as to whether or not you have a valid claim for compensation.

      • Angela

        The injury wasn’t avoidable the operating table end is heavy . I was injured by taking the end off the table two other people had to push the button either side for me to be able to take the end of the table off, this resulted in me injuring my back as I pulled it off

  3. James orourke

    I was forced by a supervisor in August 2018 to put a wacker plate down a trench of 1.5 meters when informing the agent that I could not do it and had to wait for help I was told to ‘put it down the trench as there is no locks on these gates’ meaning if I didn’t do it there and then, then to go home, this resulted in me falling down the trench with the wacker plates and pulling numerous muscles in my back. I was then helped out of the trench to be told to get back to work even though I was in agonising pain, could not walk and was crying. I was left for around half an hour in the same spot without a medical first aider being informed to attend to treat me or no provisional help. It was only until another agent come and seen the pain I was in, he’d advise that the traffic management take me home as we were in Leeds and didn’t want to ring an ambulance as the company had just started work for a major company and didn’t want them to see, even as a supervisor from this major company came to visit the site at the same time I was waiting for the traffic management I was hid away in a port a cabin and was coached off behind their backs into the waiting traffic management van, I went straight to the Manchester royal infirmary where it was confirmed I had pulled muscles in my back, I was prescribed tramadol which didn’t work then the same week 2 morphine 100ml bottles, I wasn’t made or didn’t sign an accident book and when I asked it was swept under the carpet, I wasn’t ask to sign or write down my events of what happened. I sent a doctors note but had two weeks holidays the next week and was paid the two week holiday and 1 week sick pay which after tax was 75 pound I am wondering if I can do anything about this as I am still suffering pain when I lift objects. I wasn’t advised on how to lift the walker plate which is roughly 40 -60 kg, wasn’t given any manual handling training and also the incident wasn’t recorded or had never had my signature to prove this, the vans have cctv and can be traced to the day of the accident also my medical records can prove this.

    • Ian Morris

      The weight of the item your employer was tasking you with lowering and lifting is excessive. Given the injury sustained and your warnings of the same prior to the event, it would be fitting to make a claim for compensation.

  4. Antony Wright

    So nature of my work is pulling delivery cages in and out of warehouse. A lot of bending. No equipment was provided and just basic training videos when I started.

  5. Lindsey

    I have back problems due to not having any manual handling training at my work place. I worked there for 16 years and finally got training after 10 years of working there. My injury started 5 years of working for the company. I’ve since left and unable to work due to back problems. Would I be eligble to claim?

    • Ian Morris

      If an employer fails to provide manual handling training to their workforce, it can be seen as employer negligence if a worker then goes on to sustain a back injury or lifting related injury as a result of their work. As such, you would have grounds to pursue a claim.

      However, in your case I am afraid that you are outside of the legal claim time limitation of 3 years. A claimant in the UK MUST pursue their claim within 3 years of the date of an accident or date of knowledge – when they became aware of symptoms that were work related. Given the time that has passed since you developed symptoms, you do not have a valid claim in this matter.

  6. omar mendes

    My employer has started asking me to move heavy items in and around the office centre where i work, moving big tables, chairs and cabinets (all on my own), my role is customer service and i have not had ANY training on how to move heavy objects correctly (manual handling training).
    My back has started to hurt me the more i keep moving these items and as my contract states that i could be asked to do “other duties” around the office i feel a little obligated to do comply with these requests, a manual handling risk assessment has not been done and i have never been given any guidance to how i should be carry out these extra duties. i have made videos of the items i have been asked to move and taken many pictures as evidence.
    Although i have not had a specific injury at work, i am starting to feel pain in my back, would i have a potential claim?

    • Ian Morris

      Yes, you do have a possible claim here. Your employer has an obligation to minimise the risk of injury in the workplace and that would include providing manual handling training, assistance or equipment to move the heavy items and a risk assessment.

      Given the development of your back pain, you must do two things urgently.

      Firstly, attend your GP to discuss your back pain and advise them of the recent requirement to do heavy lifting at work. You should make it clear to your GP that you fully believe that your back pain is completely related to the lifting at work.

      Secondly, once you have been to your GP, you need to inform your employer that you have developed back pain because of lifting and remind them that they have not provided you with any manual handling training, support or equipment to move the items and no risk assessment.

      Yours is a claim we would very much like to assist with.

  7. Carl

    When picking up a mattress in work I ruptured my bicep tendon. However a week before someone in a different city fell when carrying a mattress and broke both wrists and a cut head. The business did not send out any guidance after this incident and still not sent out since my incident. I have been told I won’t get my full strength back in my elbow/ arm and not the complete movement either. Have I got any grounds to claim?

    • Ian Morris

      You have grounds to make a claim against your employer for accident at work compensation if you can identify an area of employer negligence or an area where your employer has failed in their duty to minimise the risk of injury in the workplace.

      In your case, you could succeed with a claim if you injured your bicep tendon due to a lack of lifting training, a failure of the employer to provide adequate equipment to lift and move items safely or because of a working environment that makes working safely impossible.

      I would recommend that you make further contact with us so that we can discuss the specifics of your injury and working environment in order that we can advise you as to what course of action is open to you.

  8. Carl

    I was moving 3/4 size mattresses at work throughout the day and on the last one of the day I have gone to lift the mattress up and ruptured my bicep tendon in my right arm. I am currently signed off work for two weeks but have been told I will only regain 90% movement of the arm. If I get signed off for any longer I will have to claim ssp . Can I claim for Loss of earnings and the loss of movement/weakness in my arm going forward?

    • Ian Morris

      You can make a claim against your employer for the injury and any loss of movement and income if you believe that the employer was negligent and therefore responsible for your injury.

      In this case, has your employer provided you with manual handling training to show you how to lift and move items safely? Did the employer provide any equipment (trolley etc) to move the mattresses?

      I would suggest that our expert staff speak with you to discuss your situation further.

  9. rona smith

    We did a manual handling course, but I had to lift 2 clients without the appropriate hoists. A year down the line (off work), I have been diagnosed as having 3 bulging discs in my neck. Have I any rights?

    • Ian Morris

      You do have rights, rights to make a claim for compensation against your employer for the damage to your spine and bulging discs in your neck. The fact that your employer provided manual handling training does not prevent you from pursuing a claim or absolve them from further responsibility. The employer must also ensure that you are provided with the required equipment and tools and an environment that allows you to follow the manual handling training. In this case, their failure to provide the relevant hoists could well be seen as employer negligence and as such you would be able to pursue a claim.

      • rona smith

        Can you pursue this on a no win no fee basis?

        • Ian Morris

          Of course, all of the work we undertake is on a No Win No Fee basis and as such, you would be free to pursue your claim without any risk to your personal finances.

          If you would like to get your claim started, please use our ‘start a claim’ form to submit some further details and we’ll call you to get your claim up and running.

  10. Laura Dewar

    I was lifting beds and moving furniture at my work when I injured my shoulder. I have never done a manual handling course and have been off work for 10 weeks now, had to go to physio and I just got a corticosteroid injection and need to go back to physio. This has affected me at home as well, would like to know if I could get compensation?

    • Ian Morris

      Your employers failure to provide you with manual handling training is a breach of statutory requirements and has exposed you to an undue risk of injury whilst performing your working duties. To this end, I think you have a valid and strong claim for work accident compensation.

  11. Al

    Hi there,

    My work involves lifting heavy pallets and boxes. One day at work, I felt a sudden and very sharp pain in my shoulder – it was agony! I managed to continue my work – and whilst I mentioned it to colleagues, it was not officially reported or put in an accident book.
    This was several months ago, and I have continued to have pain in my shoulder. Struggled to sleep at night – but not taken any time off work although I often mention my shoulder. Last week I couldn’t go into work – I was struggling to lift my arm, and knew I wouldn’t be able to lift although I would be expected to do so if I went in.
    I have not been to my GP – and was hoping resting it for a week would help – but it hasn’t, and I still can’t lift.
    I do not earn anything if I do not work, and I am now laying awake not only in pain but worrying about my lack of income.
    Please could you be so kind as to advise.
    Many thanks

    • Ian Morris

      Your injury is most definitely a workplace injury and could either be a one off trauma or a repetitive strain injury. Although you did not record the matter in the employers accident book at the time, you can still advise them that this issue that has flared up again now links back to the incident a few months ago and ask them to record this in their accident book. If the employer refuses to do this, you should write to the employer and the HR team explaining your absence and linking it back to the initial incident a few months ago. You should retain a copy of the letter for your records.

      If your employer has failed to provide you with adequate training or the right tools and equipment to lift and move heavy items safely, then you can seek to pursue a claim for manual handling injury compensation and this is something that we specialise in and would be very happy to assist you with. Even if you have been given such training, you may well still be able to pursue a claim for compensation and I would strongly advise that you get in touch with us. In a brief telephone conversation, we would be able to properly evaluate your situation and could then advise as to whether or not you have a valid claim for accident at work compensation. My initial view is that you do and we would like to speak with you.

  12. Peter Leighton

    I was going down the steps of the London underground with my tool case in my hand which weighs approx 20 Kg when a rushing commuter knocked me off balance and I lost my footing and came down heavily on my left foot. I felt a sharp pain in my ankle and thought I had sprained it. I had in fact ruptured my tendon in my ankle causing me to have surgery for a tendon transplant. I had not received any manual handling training from my employer prior to this or any advice on transporting tools and test equipment necessary for the work I do. I am still off work six months later and have now had my pay stopped. Advice please

    • Ian Morris


      The situation you describe certainly a sad set of circumstances.

      I am afraid a claim against your employer has no merit and would not (in our view) succeed. Your tool bag is a bit of a red herring as carrying it wasn’t the cause of the fall or injuries. Negligence here rests with the rushing commuter – and you would be perfectly entitled to sue this person if you knew who they were and where they lived. However, even if you had the commuters contact details (which we assume you don’t) any Solicitor would need to be satisfied that the commuter had sufficient financial means to pay damages to you and legal costs as there would be no insurance to cover such a claim. As such, any claim is unlikely.

      You may have had prospects of pursuing your employer if it had been your heavy bag that caused you to lose balance and fall (although the courts would be unlikey to say that a bay weighing 20kg would be unacceptable unless you had a medical reason for being unable to carry such a weight which he had previously disclosed to your employer). However this is not the case and your employer cannot possibly be liable for the unforeseen and accidental actions of a third party.

      I’m very sorry that we can’t give you a more hopeful or positive response to your enquiry, particularly given the injuries you have sustained.

      Have you explored your options with regards to what state benefits you may be entitled to? If you were injured whilst travelling during the course of your employment – for example whilst travelling to a customer’s job (as opposed to commuting to or from work) – you may be eligible for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit which is non-means tested.

      I hope that this information is of some help to you.

      • Peter Leighton

        I am uneasy about your comment about the tool case being a red herring, the other commuter actually caught the tool case I was carrying ,not me also the bag was causing me to be off balance and had I not been carrying it I am certain the outcome would have been different as I have been bumped on several occasions on the underground whilst not carrying the case and never had this problem.

        • Ian Morris

          By red herring, we mean in terms of being able to hold your employer liable for the accident. The cause – whether they knocked in to you or your bag – was the rushing commuter.

          The outcome may have been less serious if the bag was not being carried at the time but that does not affect the cause.

          I do not doubt that the tool bag would have caused you to struggle to regain your balance and that you may well have not suffered injuries if you had not been carrying it, but when it comes to claiming compensation it is the cause of an accident that is key. It is our view that your employer would not be held responsible for this accident – in the circumstances you have described. However, it is clear that you have suffered a nasty injury and I do hope that you are able to make a recovery and get back to normal as soon as possible.

  13. Christopher Ward

    I developed a repetitive strain injury in the hip region from heavy manual handling at work, there was a crane present at our premises and the crane was purchased for the purpose of lifting the heavy assembled units (which is outline on the risk assessment from HSE). The crane was never in the correct position, nor did I/anyone receive proper training on its use. After my injury I was advised to refrain from lifting by my GP and Physiotherapist which I followed and my duties at work were strictly to assemble w/out manual handling.

    I was later dismissed on medical grounds as the company was displeased that I was not able to carry out my full duties, meaning the manual handling (other people had to lift for me).

    Do I have a claim? Will the company have to cover my loss of earnings to date? I feel I was unfairly dismissed and the company should/could have done a better job to find me a different position within the company. This has affected my job prospects since my reason for leaving was on medical grounds and I am struggling to find employment within other industries.

    Let me know if you require more information!

    • Ian Morris


      On the basis of your comments, my view is that you definitely meet the criteria to make us want to take this further.

      You have listed some clear employer negligence here – the fact that there was a lifting crane, but that nobody was trained to use it and therefore you had to manually lift would give me confidence that your employer would massively struggle to defend a claim brought against them for your repetitive strain injury (RSI).

      Direct2Compensation work with some brilliant rsi compensation solicitors who could pursue this for you on a No Win No Fee basis and we’d love to help you get this claim up and running.

      Please call me on 01225430285 or email me ( so that we can discuss your situation and get the ball rolling.

      Yours sincerely


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