The Scottish Manual Handling Passport Scheme

The Scottish Manual Handling Passport Scheme (SMHPS) is an initiative designed to improve the standard and consistency of manual handling training / education and the systems (process/procedures) that underpin it within Health Boards and Local Authorities (LA) in Scotland.


This document has been produced to help employers, managers, manual handling practitioners and employees reduce the risk of injury from manual handling, which is still a significant cause of work related ill health and sickness absence in Health Boards and Local Authorities in Scotland.

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (as amended) have been in place for over 20 years, yet organisations continue to face challenges in reducing the risk of injury from manual handling. Providing specific information, instruction and training on manual handling injury risks and prevention plays an important part in reducing this risk and potential working days lost.

The Scottish Manual Handling Passport Scheme is the culmination of Health Boards and Local Authorities within Scotland working together towards a shared vision - to clarify the minimum requirements for manual handling education arrangements across these sectors and by doing so, to promote national consistency.

The Scottish Manual Handling Passport Scheme is directed at all manual handling activities in health boards and local authorities. In particular it is this type of joint working that the Scottish Government is keen to encourage with our plans to integrate adult health and social care. The introduction of the Public Bodies (Scotland) (Joint Working) Act aims to ensure that health and social care provision across Scotland is joined-up and seamless, especially for people with long term conditions and disabilities, many of whom are older people. Its implementation will be a positive step towards achieving our integration strategy goals.

By participating in the scheme:

  • employers will be sending a clear message of commitment - that by educating their employees to a nationally consistent level, the risk of injury from poor practice should reduce
  • in turn, this should contribute to improved quality of care and service provision, and
  • secure welcome savings, as staff can transfer their skills between participating organisations without the need for unnecessary repeat training

Implementing the management systems and guidance contained in this document represents a reasonably practicable way of meeting legal requirements.

Michael Matheson
Minister for Public Health

Derek Mackay
Minister for Local
Government and Planning

Councillor William Hendry
COSLA Spokesperson for Strategic
Human Resource Management


Statement of support from the Health and Safety Executive

The Health and Safety Executive welcomes the manual handling education, foundation curriculum, assessment and management arrangements contained in the Scottish Manual Handling Passport Scheme and was involved and consulted in producing this guidance. Following the guidance is not compulsory, unless specifically stated, and you are free to take other action. Some of the content may go further than the minimum you need to do to comply with the law. However if you do follow the guidance you will normally be doing enough to comply with the law. Health and safety inspectors seek to secure compliance with the law and may refer to this guidance.

Alistair McNab, HSE Director Scotland and Northern England



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