Moving and Handling FAQs

What should a moving and handling training course include?

All training should focus on the optimised approach to moving and handling. ‘Optimised handling’ takes a system-wide approach. Its focus is not solely about safety and reducing musculoskeletal injury, but also about effective outcomes, including person-centredness, early mobilisation, enablement and re-ablement, and efficient outcomes, including right-sizing packages of care.

The training programme should be designed to meet the needs of the overall system, the individual cohort, and the person we are caring for. Considerations should be given to the:

  • Service or care setting
  • Cohort/participant’s job roles and responsibilities
  • Moving and handling activities carried out in the workplace
  • Assistive devices used
  • Participants’ current level of competence (Induction or Refresher training).

For example:

Training for prescribers – the prescriber role will include assessing moving and handling activities, prescribing assistive devices and designing systems of work. Their training should reflect this. Therefore, content needs to include a wide range of assistive devices, understanding of the scope of use and clinical justification around use and provision.

Training for Managers – if the managers are office based and do not practice moving and handling activities, they do not need to have a practical element included in their training. Content could focus on moving and handling systems, risk management, legal responsibilities, and accident/incident investigation. If there is no practical content, face-to-face training may not be necessary.

Training for supervisors – the supervisory role will include undertaking and/or assessing moving and handling activities, assessing/monitoring handler practice and designing and implementing systems of work. As they supervise a workforce, training needs to reflect this. Therefore, content needs a focus on risk management. This training should include a practical content, with a focus on risk assessment. Face-to-face training is essential.

Training for frontline workers – their role will include performing moving and handling activities; therefore, content should include practical work. Face-to-face training is essential.

A training course should never be a one size fits all. It should be a ‘training programme’, made up of multiple courses that are tailored to the organisation, team, and individual needs, and incorporate informal and formal training.


How frequently should training take place?

Training and education will be required in a number of circumstances, including:

  • when the employee starts a new role 
  • the employee and / or employer has identified a learning need. 
  • the employee is not working competently. 
  • there is a change in legislation or professional guidance. 
  • there is a change in working procedures. 
  • different equipment or system of work is introduced. 
  • a need is indicated following an adverse incident.

 Continuing training and education can include face to face ‘classroom’ or on the job training; coaching or advice; e-learning modules; signposting to further information for self-study; self-reflection of practice; and / or peer monitoring.

 Ongoing monitoring and review are necessary to determine any continuing education needs. 

The frequency of training and education should be informed by the initial training needs analysis which covers area of work/environment, supervision and support levels, patient types, equipment available. Also informing refresher timescales is the ongoing risk assessment outcomes, including, competency assessments outcomes; injury data; incident data; RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations) data; occupational health data; local sickness absence; service area; and level of local support.

For example, an establishment-based team may be considered a lower risk workforce, in comparison to dispersed workforce, such as home/domiciliary care services. Establishment based teams work in a consistent environment, with a consistent range of devices and have access to supervisory and/or peer support, whereas those who work within a dispersed workforce may not. Due to the nature of the role, a dispersed workforce is likely to require a higher level of problem-solving skills to prepare them for working in an inconsistent environment, with an inconsistent range of devices and with limited access to supervisory or peer support. For these reasons, a dispersed workforce is likely to require more frequent updates/competency checks compared to an establishment-based team.

The real key is that your decision as to the frequency of training should be evidence based.

Reference: The Scottish Manual Handling Passport Scheme, 2014.


What is Single-Handed Care?

Single-handed care is simply moving and handling ‘without prejudice’.

It is the product of a robust risk assessment using a single handler as a baseline without unfounded ‘blanket’ policies, procedures or beliefs that prejudice the outcome of the risk assessment. The need for additional handlers is justified, the same as prescription of any assistive device or technique would be.

The benefits of using a single handler as a baseline is that is provides a wider range of moving and handling solutions from the get go – everything is on the table! Placing ‘blanket’ procedures on certain device use, such as all hoisting tasks require two handlers, prejudice the outcome of the risk assessment by eliminating the possibility of use with a single handler.

Likewise, single-handed care should not be ‘blanket’. All moving and handling activities should be subject to a suitable and sufficient assessment of risk with an aim to achieve positive outcomes for the person being support, the handler/team providing the support and the organisation in which the activities take place.


Can eLearning replace face-to-face moving and handling of people training?

An eLearning programme cannot replace face-to-face training. Moving and handling is a practical skill and must be supported with demonstration, supervised practice, and evaluation of individual performance to allow identification of further action where required. Demonstrations alone are not sufficient (Ruszala et al. 2010. Standards in Manual Handing. NBE).

eLearning, and other written or video formats, can be used towards a blended learning approach, for example for the theory elements of moving and handling. These formats should support the face-to-face practical element of training (Rose, P. 2011. Training strategies. Handling of People 6).

Training is a risk management strategy that develops the competence of the workforce, is guided by a training needs analysis (not a one size fits all approach) and results in safe, effective, and efficient (optimised) outcomes. The face-to-face element of training enables the workforce to develop, retain, regain their practical skills. An effective training programme is an investment in the workforce, which is after all our most valuable asset.


Does NBE have a list of moving and handling trainers?

NBE does not hold a list of training providers, however, training providers can advertise their services on the NBE website. Please contact Jenny Lowrey for further information at

If you are a member of NBE, you can also post your request for training expertise on the Community Engagement Platform which reaches all the NBE membership. Members may be trainers, or know of training providers in your local area.

Become a member

Please note: NBE does not endorse any products or services. Advertisement on the NBE website does not demonstrate NBE endorsement.


What attributes are required of a moving and handling trainer?

As the trainer’s role is to impart knowledge about a specific subject, they need two skills sets:

  1. How to deliver effective training
  2. Knowledge and skills of the subject they are training – moving and handling.

There are different levels and types of moving and handling trainer.

Moving and Handling Trainer

Description: This is a dedicated role of the Moving and handling expert(s), either the Moving and Handling Lead or Team member, such as Moving and Handling Advisor.

Training Role

  • To conduct a training needs analysis to ensure organisational needs are met.
  • To design and deliver an effective training programme that meets the needs of all cohorts.
  • To maintain records of training.
  • To guide practice, based on the latest evidence base.
  • To advise all levels of the organisation on optimised moving and handling systems.
  • The moving and handling expert may delegate training responsibilities through cascade training of key trainers. In these cases, they will have overall responsibility for the key trainers in terms of providing support and guiding practice*.

*Where the trainer is external to the organisation, such as an independent training provider, it is likely refresher training and support will be provided at set intervals. In these cases, the independent trainer has a responsibility to advise their Key Trainers to, and how to, maintain their knowledge and skills and seek support in between their refresher training. This will include membership of NBE.

Essential Requirements

  • Knowledge and skills and experience around moving and handling practices, assistive devices, and legal responsibilities in all relevant areas of work.
  • Clinical experience to give them insight into real world practice and problems around moving and handling activities to enable a risk assessment focus within their training.
  • Be able to evidence their expertise. This may be in the form of a portfolio.
  • Membership of National Back Exchange. This will immerse them in the moving and handling world and provide opportunities to keep up to date with the latest practice and guidance.

Desirable Requirements

  • Advanced Membership of National Back Exchange. This will develop a portfolio of evidence, to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and experience in the moving and handling field.
  • Dedicated moving and handling qualification, such as an ergonomics or back care qualification.
  • Health qualification, such as Nursing, Occupational therapy, or Physiotherapy qualification, but they should specialize in moving and handling. As moving and handling is a specialist field, a health qualification does not necessarily automatically make the individual a moving and handling expert.
  • Training qualification, such as a Certificate of Education.

Key Trainer

Description: The training responsibilities of the key trainer are usually additional to their substantive role.

Training Role:

  • To deliver training at a local level (within their team, establishment, or small organisation) under the direction and guidance of the Moving and Handling Expert. This type of training is sometimes known as cascade training.
  • To adapt the training to meet the needs of the cohorts.
  • To maintain records of training.

Essential Requirements

  • Knowledge and skills around moving and handling practices and assistive devices in their area of work.
  • Attendance on a course that equips the key trainer with the knowledge, skills, and tools to deliver local training. This type of course is sometimes known as a Trainer the Trainer, Facilitators or Key Trainer course. The key trainer should be competent in moving and handling practices.
  • Be a member of National Back Exchange. This will immerse them in the moving and handling world and provide opportunities to keep up to date with the latest practices and *seek support if/when required.

*Where the Key Trainer has attended an external Train the Trainer course, support may be available only on subsequent Refresher courses, ongoing support may not be available.