Why write a 2nd edition of this book 19 years after the 1st? It may have taken a long time, but the answer is simple. Manual handling is important and the law, as ever, has moved on, building up in layers but with some of older cases still providing a rich seam.
Understandably people often think of manual handling law as simply about safety – health and safety at work legislation, and negligence (compensation) legal cases. Were it about inanimate loads only, then yes, legally life would be a great deal simpler. But the handling of people brings in much other law as well.
After all, handling people in health and social care is about meeting their needs and respecting them as individuals. They are not merely a “load”, the word used in the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992.
So, the book juxtaposes welfare legislation such as the Care Act 2014 and NHS Act 2006 (and equivalent legislation elsewhere in the UK)- with health and safety at work legislation. But, also, with other legislation supervening such as the Mental Capacity Act 2005, Human Rights Act 1998 and Equality Act 2010. Not to mention, perhaps surprisingly and sometimes inappropriately, the intrusion of adult safeguarding into manual handling.
In effect, the book is trying to work out where this juxtaposition gets us, in terms of the many relevant legal cases and ombudsman investigations. It digests many of these cases, so that if you are understandably not keen on reading too much legislation, there are many practical examples through which to understand the law.
Two concluding points.
First, manual handling remains as important as ever. To health and social care staff who require protection from serious injury; and to those being handled in terms of their needs, their safety and dignity.
Second, the amount of law in the book need not be seen as forbidding by practitioners, but rather as simply supportive of good professional practice in health and social care.
Written by Michael Mandelstam