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Maximum lifting weights for employees

What is the maximum weight an employee can lift?

There is no maximum safe level for lifting specified in employment law. This is because the load posed on a person by lifting something depends on factors like the posture used to lift the weight, the grip the person can get on the weight, the number of times an hour they do it and the starting and ending heights of the lift. Different people have different tolerances therefore, what is manageable for one person, may be too heavy for another.

An employer has a duty under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 to take all practicable steps to ensure that employees are not harmed while at work. This would include assessing the risks of lifting weights. The employer and employee should consider:

  • Size and strength of the worker (particularly if the worker is under 15, as young workers under 15 are restricted from lifting loads that are likely to injure them.)
  • Load - the muscle force applied by the worker - this may be the weight of the object handled.
  • Posture and workplace layout - the postures adopted to lift the object and the amount of moving of the objects required.
  • Environment - the workplace, the conditions, for example, slippery floors, walking up steps, restricted space to work in, lighting and the ability to get a good grip on the object.
  • Time - the amount of time that is spent doing the lifting - or the number of repetitions of an action each day.

Click here for further information on Manual Handling


Date Modified: Tuesday, 9 July 2013

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