January 27, 2023 | Terry Smith

5 Best Patient Handling Risk Assessment Tools in 2024

Work-related musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries, including manual handling injuries, are one of the most common types of ill health amongst NHS and social care staff in the UK.  

In the 2021 NHS Staff Survey, over 30% of staff reported experiencing musculoskeletal problems as a result of work activities (a 1.4 percentage point increase on 2020).  It’s very important that we focus on early intervention and prevention to effectively manage and prevent MSK injuries.

One of the best ways to prevent MSK injuries and problems is to thoroughly risk-assess the manual handling task that needs to be carried out and to regularly review and update risk assessments when necessary. 

In this article, we have collated the top 5 free risk assessment tools for you, so you can easily refer to this page and use the tools when required.  

5 free manual handling risk assessment tools:

  1. 1. TILEO (Task, Individual, Load, Environment, Other)
  2. 2. REBA (Rapid Entire Body Assessment)
  3. 3. Seven Manual Handling Questions
  4. 4. AARR (Avoid, Assess, Reduce, Review)
  5. 5. Manual handling assessment charts (the MAC tool)




TILEO is an acronym for an assessment tool used to quickly and effectively assess a manual handling risk and is useful when carrying out a manual handling, lifting, pushing or pulling task. It stands for:

  • Task
  • Individual
  • Load
  • Environment
  • Other
Click here to use the TILEO tool



The Rapid Entire Body Assessment is a well-proven assessment that evaluates both the upper and lower parts of the musculoskeletal system to identify musculoskeletal risks associated with the task being carried out.

The REBA tool is frequently used by moving and handling advisors to assess patient-handling tasks, and assess the impact they have on nurses and caregivers carrying out the tasks, so they are able to make good manual handling decisions and reduce the risk of MSKs. 

Click here for a step-by-step guide on the REBA Tool


3. Seven Manual Handling Questions (MHQs)

The 7 Manual Handling Questions are a set of questions created by April Brooks MCSP PGDip, NHS Clinical Physiotherapy Specialist in Patient Handling, and published in the Guide to The Handling of People 6th Edition (hop6).

They are particularly useful when you are presented with a scenario you haven’t planned for, as they enable you to thoroughly prepare for a task or set of tasks, assess all of the options, and minimise any risk.

Click here to view the 7 MHQs



AARR is a helpful acronym that you can use to remind yourself of the principles of moving and handling and the steps you should take before carrying out any manual handling task. It stands for:

  • Avoid
  • Assess
  • Reduce
  • Review

The AARR assessment was first introduced in the Manual Handling Operations Regulations of 1992.

Click here to use the AARR assessment tool


5. Manual handling assessment charts (the MAC tool)

The MAC Tool is a tool created by the Health and Safety Executive and is designed to be used by health and safety managers to assess any manual handling task.   

There are three types of assessment that can be carried out with the MAC: 

  • Lifting operations
  • Carrying operations
  • Team handling operations

For each type of assessment, there is an assessment guide and a flow chart, and a score sheet to complete at the end of the tool.

Click here to use the MAC Tool




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Terry Smith

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