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February 12, 2010

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Guidance- Excess baggage risks reduced

The HSE is reminding those working in the aviation industry that it has a range of free guidance and help available on safe baggage handling, following the adoption last year by the International Air Transport Association of lower bag-weight limits.

The 2009 edition of the IATA Airport Handling Manual (AHM) cites a recommended individual bag weight of 23-25 kilos, after successful lobbying by the HSE, airlines and ground handling companies. The Executive is continuing to stress the need for increased mechanical support, and recognises that the weight of a load is only one risk factor in manual handling. Other factors should also be taken into consideration to reduce risks, it maintains, including work systems and frequency of manual handling.

Head of the HSE’s Transportation and Safety Unit, Nick Ratty, said: “This is an ongoing international issue and the HSE has always said that manual handling should be avoided altogether, where practicable.

“Basic handling equipment can help reduce the need for manual handling; however, the HSE is aware of reports of such equipment not being used due to cost issues, or in-hold equipment being removed from aircraft due to its weight and size.

Emphasising the role played by new technology – such as belt loaders that convey bags right into the aircraft hold – in reducing MSD risks, Ratty promised: “The HSE will continue to work with the industry and others to reduce the risks to workers.”

To access free HSE information on baggage handling, visit

Approaches to managing the risks associated Musculoskeletal disorders

In this episode of the Safety & Health Podcast, we hear from Matt Birtles, Principal Ergonomics Consultant at HSE’s Science and Research Centre, about the different approaches to managing the risks associated with Musculoskeletal disorders.

Matt, an ergonomics and human factors expert, shares his thoughts on why MSDs are important, the various prevalent rates across the UK, what you can do within your own organisation and the Risk Management process surrounding MSD’s.

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