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The pushing and pulling of loads happen regularly in the workplace. From pushing and pulling a wheeled office chair to moving heavy loads using trolleys and other equipment. Any equipment used in moving a load is subject to Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations, LOLER and must be tested by a competent person and have valid certificates. When pushing or pulling, check that the equipment that you are planning to use is appropriate for the task and that it is in good working order. The handle should be between waist and shoulder height. Check that the surface you are going to be moving the load over is flat and is there a slope? Pushing is always preferable to pulling, as you can steer the object and your vision is not obstructed.

When using well maintained suitable equipment, a 100-kilogramme load will require a force of 2 kilogrammes to move it over a level surface which is 2% of the load weight. Where the surface is uneven, this may be increased to 10% of the load weight. Check that the wheels of the equipment are secure and moving freely and that the brakes are working and only use equipment that has been selected for the task in the risk assessment.

If there is a slope, you will need assistance. If there is a risk of a load running away, as you are moving it down a slope, the force required to stop a load on a slope is considerably higher than on a flat surface. You must take care of your feet when using any push or pull type of load and ensure that you keep them away from the load to avoid injury to them. Maintain a steady walking pace to avoid getting too tired. Finally, remember the force required to start and stop a load can double to what it is when it is moving.