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What Is Your Maximum Manual Handling Weight Limit?

by | Jul 8, 2022 | Health & Safety

When it comes to manual handling, ensuring the health and safety of employees should be of the utmost importance. Many factors can affect how safe a manual handling activity is; however, there are many lifting tips available for both employers and employees to help make this easier. 

One of these tips is to ensure you are not lifting more than the recommended maximum weight. But, how much weight can the average person carry in kgs? We answer this question and more, below. 

What Is The Max Manual Handling Weight Limit? 

When it comes to lifting weight at work, there is no legal limit. This is due to the fact that manual handling injuries can occur irrespective of the weight of the item you’re lifting, especially if your technique is wrong. 

Ultimately, an employer is responsible for determining, managing and controlling the risks associated with manual handling and weight limits. While there are no legal limits in place, there are recommendations and guidelines for safe maximum lifting weights for both men and women. 

Manual Handling Weight Limits For Men

For men, the safe, maximum weight for manual handling is 25kg. However, this guideline will depend on the height at which the object is being lifted as well as the manner in which it is carried. Below is a table which outlines this. 

Height at which object is lifted

Max weight when held close to body

Max weight when held at arm’s length

Head Height

10kg

5kg

Shoulder Height

20kg

10kg

Elbow Height

25kg

15kg

Knuckle Height

20kg

10kg

Mid-Lower Leg Height

10kg

5kg

Manual Handling Weight Limits For Women

So if men can lift up to 25kgs, what is the maximum weight a female can lift at work? It’s recommended that women lift less weight, with the safe lifting weight being 16kg. As with men,  this guideline will depend on the height at which the object is being lifted and how it is carried. 

Height at which object is lifted

Max weight when held close to body

Max weight when held at arm’s length

Head Height

7kg

3kg

Shoulder Height

13kg

7kg

Elbow Height

16kg

10kg

Knuckle Height

13kg

7kg

Mid-Lower Leg Height

7kg

3kg

Two-Man Lift Weight Limit UK

When two people lift an object, they’ll definitely be able to handle a heavier load. However, many people make the mistake of thinking two people can simply lift double the weight, but this is not the case. 

When two people are lifting an object, the general rule of thumb is not to carry more than 2/3rds of your combined capabilities. For example, if two women were lifting an object, then the object shouldn’t weigh more than 21kg, but for two men, this would be approximately 33kg. 

If you find a third person to help with the manual handling, then the total weight should not exceed half of the sum of the three individuals carrying capacity. So again, for three women, this would be 24kg, whereas, for three males, it would be 37.5kg. 

Advice On Safe Manual Handling Weights

Having weight limits are important to ensure the health and safety of employees who must do manual handling activities. However, only following these recommendations is not enough to keep employees safe. 

Some things to remember and do before engaging in manual handling activities include:

  • Warming the muscles up before lifting
  • Ensuring there are no obstructions in your path 
  • Maintain good, straight posture
  • Always bend with the knees, do not bend or stoop from the upper body
  • Ensure you have the necessary manual handling training  
  • Hold the object as close to your body as possible
  • Ensure you have a good grip on the object before lifting
  • Lower the object slowly to avoiding hand injuries 
  • Assess manual handling risks before lifting the object 

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