Lifting Accident At Work Claims Explained

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What Is The Maximum Weight Limit I Can Lift At Work And Can I Claim Compensation?

By Cat Way. Last Updated 6th March 2024. Following a manual handling injury at work, you may be wondering, “what is the maximum weight limit I can lift at work?”. However, there is no legal maximum weight limit. Instead, there are guidelines and recommendations regarding the maximum weight to lift at work.

In this guide, we’re going to review the recommended safe lifting limits and explain when you might be able to seek compensation for injuries related to lifting too many items or lifting something that was too heavy. We’ll look at your employer’s duty of care towards your safety, what considerations should be made when lifting, and how much compensation could be paid if your injury is caused by employer negligence.

Our advisors at Legal Expert can provide a no-obligation assessment of any workplace accident claim. If they believe that your personal injury claim has a chance of success, they could introduce you to one of our experienced No Win No Fee solicitors.

If you’d like to discuss making a manual handling claim right away, please call 0800 073 8804 today or use our live chat feature. You could also fill out our claim online form for a call back at a time that suits you. Otherwise, to find out more about claiming for lifting-related injuries, please continue reading.

A worker lifting a heavy box depicting an example of the maximum weight limit they can lift at work.

Select A Section

  1. When Can I Claim For A Lifting Injury At Work?
  2. What Is The Maximum Weight Limit I Can Lift At Work?
  3. Weight Limit – Workplace Regulations And Split Liability
  4. Examples of Manual Handling Accidents
  5. I Was Injured When Lifting And Handling A Heavy Object, What Should I Do?
  6. How Much Can I Claim For A Lifting Injury At Work?
  7. Make A No Win No Fee Claim For A Manual Handling Injury
  8. Essential References On What Is The Maximum Weight Limit You Can Lift At Work

When Can I Claim For A Lifting Injury At Work?

If you have suffered a lifting injury in a work-related accident, you must be able to prove the following to be able to make a claim for compensation:

  1. You were owed a duty of care by your employer as stated in the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
  2. Your employer breached their duty of care.
  3. This caused you to become injured in an accident at work.

Additionally, you must ensure that you make your claim within the relevant time limits, as stated in the Limitation Act 1980. Generally, this is 3 years from the date you were injured.

There are some exceptions to this time limit. For example:

  • Minors will have 3 years to start a claim once they turn 18. Before this point, they are unable to pursue a claim and would need a litigation friend (who is appointed by the court) to do so on their behalf. In this case, the time limit is suspended.
  • Someone who lacks the mental capacity to make a claim will have 3 years if they regain this capacity. Before this point, the time limit is frozen. A litigation friend can make a claim on their behalf.

Contact our advisors today for more information about when you could claim following an injury caused by exceeding the weight limit for manual handling.

A person holding their back in pain.

What Is The Maximum Weight Limit I Can Lift At Work?

You may be wondering, “What is the maximum weight a person should lift at work?”. Manual handling tasks at work can pose certain risks. As such, employers must adhere to certain pieces of legislation to manage the risks.

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 sets out that employers must:

  • Avoid any manual handling tasks so far as reasonably possible.
  • Where it is not possible, assess the risk of injury posed by any hazardous manual handling activities that can’t be avoided.
  • Take steps to reduce the risk of injury so far as is reasonably possible.

However, whilst the weight of a load is important, the law does not set any specific manual handling weight limit.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the regulator for workplace health and safety in Great Britain, provides some guidance on weight limits depending on your height, gender, and the height from where you lift.

For example, this document states that at elbow height, the maximum a man should lift is 20kg while, for a woman, it is 13kg. However, this can depend on your height and other factors. As such, your employer will need to assess the weight that is suitable for you to lift before any manual handling tasks are carried out.

You can read more about what the maximum weight limit you could lift at work is in this HSE guide on manual handling at work. Alternatively, call our team to learn whether you could claim compensation.

Weight Limit – Workplace Regulations And Split Liability

When lifting a load, you need to adhere to the official training and guidance you should have been supplied with. Failure to do so could affect your claim. You have some responsibility for your own safety whilst at work. It is not solely down to your employer.

As well as asking “what’s the weight limit when lifting at work?”, you also need to consider other factors that could affect your safety when engaging in manual handling. When heavy lifting at work, the law states that your employer must take reasonably practicable steps to reduce your risk of injury. However, if you take unnecessary risks, then the liability could fall – at least partially – with you. This is known as split liability.

If split liability is established, then you will receive a reduced payout. For instance, if it is deemed you were 50% responsible for how you were injured, you would only receive 50% of the payout you would have received if the liability rested entirely with your employer.

When lifting a load, you need to take into account factors in addition to the weight limit, such as:

  • Any pre-existing injuries you may have
  • If there are any hazards present
  • Carelessness
  • Whether you are adhering to the training you’ve been provided with

If you have any questions, please get in touch with our advisors today.

Examples Of Manual Handling Accidents

Manual handling accidents could occur in a variety of ways. In this section, we’ve given a short list of examples below. However, there are other scenarios in which heavy lifting at work could cause you to be injured due to negligence.

  • Inadequate training – You may have been asked to lift a heavy load, but not told how to do so in a safe manner. There are certain tips and techniques for manual handling that can reduce the risk of injury. If you are not made aware of them, then you could be hurt.
  • Unsafe walking surfaces – Even if you are carrying something safely, the floor may be slippery or damaged. This could cause you to fall and become injured.
  • Exceeding the maximum safe weight – If you carry weight heavier than is deemed safe, then this could also lead to you sustaining an injury. The damage could occur due to an isolated incident, or it could be cumulative. Also bear in mind that you can refuse to lift something if you feel you are incapable of safely doing so.

Reach out today if you have any questions regarding whether the scenario that caused your injury could be an example of negligence.

A woman lying on the floor after a lifting injury. Her colleague is helping her.

I Was Injured When Lifting And Handling A Heavy Object, What Should I Do?

If you have been injured in a manual handling accident at work, you’ll need to supply evidence to support your claim. The more evidence you can supply, the easier it will be to show what happened. Therefore, in the event of an accident, we’d suggest that you:

  • Report the accident to your employer. By law, the incident will need to be recorded, and you can ask for a copy of the accident report to help prove what happened and when.
  • Photograph the scene of the accident. For manual lifting injuries, it would be worth trying to capture the size of the area you were working in and the load you were lifting. Try to do this as soon as possible before anything is removed from the scene.
  • Seek medical treatment for your injuries. Not only will this help you recover, but medical records could also be used to show the extent of your injuries.
  • Ask any witnesses for their details.
  • Ask for copies of any CCTV footage that was covering the area. You should do this as soon as possible as it’s not always retained for long periods.
  • If you have any visible injuries, photograph them throughout your recovery.

Once you’ve got as much evidence as you’re able to, please call and speak with an advisor. They’ll go through your claim with you and advise you of your options. If the claim is strong enough, they could introduce you to a specialist solicitor to take your manual handling claim forward.

How Much Can I Claim For A Lifting Injury At Work?

If you successfully claim compensation for an injury from lifting at work, there are two heads of claim you could receive: general damages and special damages. General damages is awarded in every successful claim and provides compensation for your injuries and the effect they have on your daily life.

When solicitors and other legal professionals value this head of claim, they may refer to the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). This is a document that provides guideline compensation amounts for injuries of varying severities. In the table below, you can find some examples of these guidelines relevant to injuries you could sustain due to heavy lifting at work. These figures have been taken from the 16th edition of the JCG.

Multiple Serious Injuries and Financial LossesCompensation for the mental and/or physical impact of more than one serious injuries with financial losses, such as lost income, care costs, and medical expenses.Up to £1,000,000+
ParalysisParaplegia - Factors such as the impact on mental health and level of independence will affect the settlement as well as other issues.£219,070 to £284,260
Back InjuriesSevere - (i) This bracket involves cases of the most severe injury associated with spinal cord and nerve root damage.£91,090 to £160,980
Back InjuriesSevere - (iii) Fractures of the discs or disc lesions that cause chronic conditions, and despite treatment the person will experience significant discomfort and pain.£38,780 to £69,730
Back InjuriesModerate - (ii) Disturbed ligaments and muscles that cause backache.£12,510 to £27,760
Back InjuriesMinor - (ii) Disc prolapses, sprains and soft tissue injuries that fully recover, without surgery, within 2 years.£4,350 to £7,890
Injuries to the ElbowSevere - A disabling elbow injury that is severe.£39,170 to £54,830
Shoulder InjuriesSevere – Usually associated with neck injuries with brachial plexus damage that results in a significant disability. (a)£19,200 to £48,030
Shoulder InjuriesSerious - When the shoulder is dislocated and the lower part of the brachial plexus is damaged. This causes pain in the neck and shoulder.(b)£12,770 to £19,200
Knee InjuriesModerate - (i) A torn cartilage or meniscus, or the knee has been dislocated which causes slight instability and a future disability that is mild.£14,840 to £26,190
Knee InjuriesModerate - (ii) Lacerations or bruising and twisting injuries that causes pain and discomfort with aching in the knee.Up to £13,740

Can I Claim Special Damages?

Your compensation may also include special damages. This head of claim covers the financial losses you suffer because of your injuries. For example, this head could help you recover the cost of:

  • Housekeeping
  • Lost earnings
  • Childcare
  • Travel
  • Prescriptions 
  • Mobility aids 

However, in order to claim under this head, you must be able to provide proof of your losses. Because of this, it can be helpful to keep any relevant bills, invoices, or receipts that relate to expenses caused by your injuries.

Read on to learn more about claiming for injuries caused by your employer asking you to lift over the maximum lifting weight. Or, contact our team to get started.

Make A No Win No Fee Claim For A Manual Handling Injury

When making a personal injury claim for injuries caused by exceeding the manual handling weight limit in the UK, you may find it helpful to work with a No Win No Fee solicitor. They could offer you a specific type of contract called a Conditional Fee Agreement. When claiming with this type of No Win No Fee deal in place, you pay your solicitor a legally capped success fee when you make a successful claim and are awarded compensation. If your claim fails, you are not required to pay them this.

Our solicitors could work your case under this type of No Win No Fee arrangement. To find out more about whether you could claim following an injury after the maximum weight for manual handling was exceeded in the workplace, get in touch with our advisors today. An advisor can discuss whether a solicitor could begin working on your case. To get in touch, you can:

Essential References On What Is The Maximum Weight Limit You Can Lift At Work

Thanks for reading this guide that aimed to answer the question, “what is the maximum weight limit I can lift at work?” To provide you with further information, we’ve linked to a few more of our guides as well as some useful external resources too. Please feel free to get in touch if there’s anything else you’d like to know.

Below, you can find a list of guides which may tell you more about accident at work claims:

If you would like to speak to an advisor who can answer questions such as “what is the maximum weight limit I can lift at work?” or similar, you can get in touch with Legal Expert using the contact details highlighted in this guide.

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    • Patrick Mallon

      Patrick is a Grade A solicitor having qualified in 2005. He's an an expert in accident at work and public liability claims and is currently our head of the EL/PL department. Get in touch today for free to see how we can help you.