What Do LITE and TILE Stand For in Manual Handling?

TILE, LITE, and TILEO are all acronyms commonly used in the context of manual handling, but what do they mean? In this article, our HSE experts discuss the TILE and LITE acronyms, and how they are used to ensure we carry loads without injury to ourselves and others.

What does TILE stand for in manual handling? TILE stands for Task, Individual, Load, and Environment. They are used to assess the risks before a manual handling task is undertaken.

Task - nature of the task at hand

Individual - abilities of the people completing the task

Load - characteristics of object to be handled

Environment - nature of the area where task is to be performed

What does LITE stand for in manual handling? LITE, sometimes also referred to as TILE, stands for Load, Individual, Task, and Environment. The acronym encourages you to look at and assess the risks in those four main areas before a manual handling task is carried out. 

Read on to find out more about the meaning of TILE and LITE, when they are used, and other common manual handling expressions.

What Does TILE Stand For in Manual Handling?

Manual handling covers several tasks including lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying large and heavy objects. If you are doing any of the tasks outlined above, you must consider ‘TILE’ beforehand. The TILE acronym stands for Task, Individual, Load, and Environment. I.e, each of the factors that you should assess and consider from a health and safety standpoint. 

We’ve outlined a few of the questions that you could ask yourself when considering each TILE in manual handling:


Task is the first element of TILE. You should first assess the nature of the task as a whole when deciding how risky the task is to complete. If any of the following factors stand out, then you should reassess how the task is to be completed. Here is what you should consider: 

  • Does the task require repetitive movements?
  • Does the task involve stretching or overreaching?
  • How long will the task take to complete?
  • Is there time for recovery after the task is completed?
  • Can the manual handling be reduced in any way, perhaps with more team members or the assistance of machinery?


The person completing the task typically has the highest risk of injury, so you must make sure they are not only capable of handling the load, but also the most suitable. If there is anything that stands out when asking yourself the questions below, you should reassess who you have chosen to complete the manual handling task:

  • Is the person strong enough for the task at hand?
  • Has the person(s) handling the object been appropriately trained?
  • Do they have all the required information to complete the task safely?
  • Does the individual have any history of muscular injuries or current pain?
  • Are there any health conditions or disabilities present that would increase the risk of the manual handling task?
  • Is the individual pregnant?
  • Would the individual benefit from the help of additional team members?
  • If required, would they be able to do the task on a weekly or daily basis?


The type of load that is being carried will directly affect the difficulty of the task at hand. For example, large boxes of bricks can be broken up into smaller loads to reduce strain, or additional equipment may be used if you are assisting an adult with limited mobility . Consider these: 

  • Does the load contain potentially hazardous substances, such as chemicals?
  • How heavy is the object?
  • Is the object awkward to hold?
  • Could the load be split into smaller loads to make handling easier?
  • Does the load have sharp edges?
  • Can the load be gripped safely for long periods of time?
  • Is it possible to see whilst handling the load?
  • Is the load a person or animal?


Although you may just think about the room or space in which the task will take place, you must also consider some additional aspects which may change on the day. We’ve listed these below:

  • How much space is there to move around in?
  • Is there a sufficient amount of lighting?
  • Are there any risks of slips, trips, or falls?
  • Are there any stairs that the individual would need to navigate?
  • Where is the load accessed and where does it need to go?
  • Are there other people, such as the public, that you need to be aware of?
  • Are extreme weather conditions likely?

What Does TILEO Mean?

‘O’ in TILEO stands for ‘Other Factors’ that should be considered alongside the TILE acronym. 

  • Could you wear PPE to prevent injury?
  • Are there any construction projects taking place that could limit your routes?
  • Could you make use of additional equipment or mechanical aids?
  • Have those mechanical aids been safety checked?
  • Does the individual know how to operate the machinery?

If you’d like to find out more about TILE and how they ensure your safety whilst manual handling, why not explore our recent blog post? - ‘The 4 Key Areas Of Manual Handling You Should Be Aware Of’

Is TILE a Risk Assessment?

Whilst TILE is a way to assess the risks present before undertaking manual handling tasks, it isn’t seen as a formal risk assessment, but rather forms part of a dynamic risk assessment. Dynamic risk assessments encourage you to assess the risks on the spot as a situation, job, or location changes, whereas risk assessments that required by law need to include the wider context of the business, as well as details of all the risks in the workplace (i.e not just that one manual handling task), as well of each of the actions in place to reduce the risks

If you’re looking for downloadable risk assessments, why not explore our complete range of risk assessments on the HSE Docs website? We even offer a free downloadable template, as well as industry-specific assessments. 

What Does LITE Stand For in Manual Handling?

LITE is another acronym that can be used interchangeably with TILE. They both stand for Task, Load, Individual, and Environment but with the letters switched around. There isn’t a strict order that you need to follow when assessing these factors, so both terms are acceptable, although ‘TILE’ is most commonly used.

There are a number of other acronyms used within manual handling training, including ‘COG’ and ‘AARR’. If you’d like to learn more about what these stand for, check out our recent manual handling blog.

Online Manual Handling Training Courses From HSE Docs

If you’re keen to learn more about manual handling techniques that can improve your safety within the workplace, why not consider an online training course? At HSE Docs, we offer a range of certified training courses, including Manual Handling, Slips Trips & Falls, Display Screen Awareness, and more.

We’ve used our twenty years of experience in health and safety to ensure these courses are comprehensive and easy to understand, even for beginners. For just £4.99 per person, and an 85% first-time pass rate, you and your team could gain a nationally-recognised qualification in just a few hours.

If you have any questions about our training courses, why not get in touch with our team? We’d be happy to offer advice and tailored recommendations.