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Health and Safety Executive: Furniture

Volume 689: debated on Thursday 1 March 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has a notice in its meeting rooms warning of the risks of moving furniture and requesting 48 hours’ notice before furniture is moved; and whether the HSE will require other government offices to issue the same notice. [HL2058]

The HSE's approach to moving furniture in its offices is based on its own assessment of the risks from manual handling—one of the main causes of work-related absence among its staff. Where furniture needs to be moved regularly, it is mounted on lockable wheels so that any staff can move it easily. For other, bulky and cumbersome furniture, arrangements have been made with porters to move it safely; signs have therefore been posted in some meeting rooms advising staff of this arrangement.

The relevant legislation, the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992, is goal-setting and requires organisations to find and implement arrangements that are appropriate to their particular circumstances. There is no intention that the solution adopted by HSE should be imposed inflexibly on other government offices.