MANUAL HANDLING

You may think that your job does not involve any manual handling. However, manual handling is one hazard that arises in the majority of workplaces. This is because it is part of almost every physical activity we do. It involves such common actions as lifting, lowering, carrying, pushing, pulling, holding or restraining. It may also include stretching, bending, sustained and awkward postures, and repetitive movements.

Or if you perform these actions regularly, you may think you take sufficient care to avoid injuries.

Manual handling injuries are preventable. And you play a role in staying healthy and keeping safe while at work. It is important to understanding the risks associated with each activity and ways to reduce them.

 Tips for reducing the risk of manual handling injury at work
  • Perform a variety of work tasks during the day.
  • Alternate between tasks wherever possible.
  • Perform movements smoothly in a comfortable balanced posture with minimal bending, twisting and over reaching.
  • Change your posture and working position throughout the day to avoid prolonged sitting or standing.
  • Take regular breaks from repetitive tasks.
  • Position tools, controls, equipment or furniture to allow work to be done in a comfortable upright position with most work carried out at waist level.
  • If you have to keep reaching for something move it closer.
  • Provide adequate space so you are not working in a cramped position – your workspace should be uncluttered and well lit.
  • Try to avoid working on areas of floor that are cluttered, uneven, wet or slippery.
  • Wear proper clothing and footwear (personal protective equipment) eg gloves, non-slip shoes, apron.

 Source: Smart Move, WorkCover NSW

Safe lifting techniques
  • Hold loads close to the body.
  • Store loads close to where they will be used and try to store heavy items near waist height.
  • Don’t lift, push or pull anything too heavy – break the load down into smaller lots.
  • Use mechanical aids such as a trolley or get help when lifting heavy loads.
  • Don’t lift heavy items while you're sitting down.

Source: Smart Move, WorkCover NSW

Useful resources

Smart Move WorkCover NSW guides