Site inspections across Great Britain – Moving and Handling

Construction sites are being targeted as part of HSE's latest health inspection initiative supported by the 'Work Right Construction: Your health. Your future' campaign.

The campaign is raising awareness of health issues in relation to moving and handling materials to improve the long-term health of those working in construction.

Site inspections started on Monday 4 September and will run for 8 weeks.

Focusing on moving and handling construction materials, HSE inspectors are checking that employers and workers:

  • know the risks
  • plan their work to eliminate or substitute the risks, where possible
  • where that is not possible, are using sensible control measures to protect workers from aches, pain and discomfort in joints, muscles and bones known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

In the most recent period, an estimated 42,000 construction workers suffered work-related MSDs.

These can have a serious impact on workers’ ability to perform tasks; their quality of life; and in some cases, their ability to stay in work and earn a living. Many can and do suffer from long-term pain and discomfort.



Construction work, by its very nature, involves lifting, carrying and handling activities that can cause significant, often long-term injuries if the risks are not managed effectively.

Construction workers have a high risk of developing aches, pains and discomfort in muscles and joints, referred to as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

These injuries can seriously impact on workers performance and their ability to stay in work. Working days lost through MSDs have huge financial implications for businesses, as well as time spent to recruit and train replacement workers if needed. These injuries can often be reoccurring, so it’s important to get the control measures right to protect workers’ long-term health, wellbeing and ability to remain in work.




As an employer, you must protect your workers from getting hurt or ill through work.  

If you don’t, you could get:

    • verbal or written advice,
    • an improvement or prohibition notice,
    • or be prosecuted by HSE or your local authority.  





The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 set out a clear hierarchy of measures for dealing with risk likely to cause harm from manual handling. These are:

  1. Avoid hazardous manual handling operations so far as reasonably practicable.
  2. Assess any manual handling operations that cannot be avoided.
  3. Reduce the risk of injury to as low as reasonably practicable.