Manual Handling – what is it and what are the risks?

What is manual handling?

Manual handling is the transporting or supporting of a load including lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving objects by hand or by bodily force. It applies to any activity that requires an individual or person to lift, hold or restrain, move or support a load.

 

What are the risks of manual handling?

Injury from manual handling has a major impact on all workplaces, and costs the economy millions of dollars every year. Workers involved in the moving and handling of goods are at risk and injuries and suffering can be linked to any work involving handling of loads. There are risks in handling even light loads if a repetitive task is being carried out in poor conditions. Poor ergonomics and workplace layout are a factor in many hazardous manual handling tasks.

Risks can be found in all work sectors, but healthcare, agriculture and construction are recognised as high-risk industries due to the number and nature of the manual handling activities. So if you require any person to lift, lower, push or pull or restrain any object consider getting workplace training and an implementing a structured policy around these risks.

 

How to assess manual handling risks

A typical way to assess manual handling activities is to look at four specific areas including what is the task? How will I be able to lift safely? What is the load weight and what is the environment? These assessments need to be done before any manual handling.

As with any assessment, the workplace should be involved in the process and be able to offer relevant guidance in their duty of care especially for high-risk industries and include the following key factors:

  • the task: any activity involve twisting, stooping, bending, excessive travel, pushing, pulling or precise positioning of the load, sudden movement, inadequate rest or recovery periods, team handling or seated work?
  • the individual:does the individual require unusual strength or height for the activity, are they pregnant, disabled or suffering from a health problem. Is specialist knowledge or training required?
  • the load:is the load heavy, unwieldy, difficult to grasp, sharp, hot, cold, difficult to grip, are the contents likely to move or shift?
  • the environment: are there space constraints, uneven, slippery or unstable floors, variations in floor levels, extremely hot, cold or humid conditions, poor lighting, poor ventilation, gusty winds, clothing or clothing that restricts movement?

Topics covered in manual handling training

  • How to use appropriate posture and handling techniques to reduce muscle load on exertion
  • Managing work tasks involving vibration in accordance with workplace policies and duty of care procedures
  • Using appropriate manual handling techniques and equipment to meet customer needs within own scope of responsibility
  • How to package loads appropriately for easy handling and lifting
  • How to follow lifting limitations within relevant guidelines
  • How to use safe work practices in handling loads
  • Why wearing appropriate personal protective equipment clothing is important
  • Identifying work health and safety (WHS) hazards, how to assess risk and report to a supervisor or manager
  • How to effectively contribute to workplace design and task analysis to ensure appropriate work areas are developed in accordance with WHS laws
  • Following workplace policies and procedures in relation to the scheduling of tasks
  • How to carry out equipment and environmental maintenance in accordance with a workplace preventative maintenance schedule
  • Understanding the importance of following workplace procedures for reporting symptoms and injuries to self and or others
  • Understanding workplace procedures for any return to work program

Manual handling is one of the leading causes of injury and death in the workplace and in each state across Australia training is the key to minimising the risks associated with incorrect lifting procedures. Each state in Australia has laws surrounding manual handling. Here is a snapshot of what’s required in NSW and Victoria (each state has its own laws and regulations – check out what’s required in your state or territory online).

Safework NSW – Work Health and Safety Regulation NSW says:

A manual task becomes hazardous when one or more of the following risk factors are present:

  • repetitive or sustained force
  • high or sudden force
  • repetitive movement
  • sustained or awkward posture
  • vibration

Over the past four years more than 145,000 workers have been injured in NSW workplaces as a result of manual tasks. Seven died and more than 1300 were permanently disabled.

Safework Victoria

The technique must be specific, designed for the work and the workplace where it will be used. When training an employee in a specific manual handling technique, make sure they:

  • understand the reasons for doing the work in a particular way
  • can recognise the risks and decide the best way to do the work
  • can do the work properly and practise the technique before being required to use it
  • are properly supervised when the work is being carried out.

You should assess the techniques that your employees are using, and provide refresher training as required. This is particularly important for work that is not done very often.

Training in specific lifting techniques is often used to address the danger of lifting heavy objects. But repetitive lifting may pose a risk, irrespective of which technique is used. This is why training alone is not an effective risk control. In order to reduce the risk of manual handling injuries a solid risk management plan needs to be put in place.

Refer to Safework’s Code of Practice. Training in specific lifting techniques is often used to address the danger of lifting heavy objects. But repetitive lifting may pose a risk, irrespective of which technique is used. This is why training alone is not an effective risk control.

 

For more information on how AlertForce can help you with your manual handling training call 1800 900 222 during business hours or visit our Manual Handling Training courses which includes courses in aged care.

 

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    Book now

    Sold out

  • Jul 3rd

    CPCCBC4051A Supervise asbestos removal

    Brisbane (Brendale)

    $347

    Book now

    Sold out

  • Jul 6th

    CPCCDE3014A Remove non-friable asbestos

    Melbourne (Derrimut)

    $297

    Book now

    Sold out

  • Jul 7th

    CPCCBC4051A Supervise asbestos removal

    Melbourne (Derrimut)

    $347

    Book now

    Sold out

  • Aug 3rd

    CPCCDE3014A Remove non-friable asbestos

    Melbourne (Derrimut)

    $297

    Book now

    Sold out

  • Aug 4th

    CPCCBC4051A Supervise asbestos removal

    Melbourne (Derrimut)

    $347

    Book now

    Sold out

  • Aug 6th

    CPCCDE3014A Remove non-friable asbestos

    Brisbane (Brendale)

    $297

    Book now

    Sold out

  • Aug 7th

    CPCCBC4051A Supervise asbestos removal

    Brisbane (Brendale)

    $347

    Book now

    Sold out

  • Sep 3rd

    CPCCDE3014A Remove non-friable asbestos

    Brisbane (Brendale)

    $297

    Book now

    Sold out

  • Sep 4th

    CPCCBC4051A Supervise asbestos removal

    Brisbane (Brendale)

    $347

    Book now

    Sold out

  • Sep 7th

    CPCCDE3014A Remove non-friable asbestos

    Melbourne (Derrimut)

    $297

    Book now

    Sold out

  • Sep 8th

    CPCCBC4051A Supervise asbestos removal

    Melbourne (Derrimut)

    $347

    Book now

    Sold out

  • Oct 1st

    CPCCDE3014A Remove non-friable asbestos

    Brisbane (Brendale)

    $297

    Book now

    Sold out

  • Oct 2nd

    CPCCBC4051A Supervise asbestos removal

    Brisbane (Brendale)

    $347

    Book now

    Sold out

  • Oct 5th

    CPCCDE3014A Remove non-friable asbestos

    Melbourne (Derrimut)

    $297

    Book now

    Sold out

  • Oct 6th

    CPCCBC4051A Supervise asbestos removal

    Melbourne (Derrimut)

    $347

    Book now

    Sold out

  • Nov 2nd

    CPCCDE3014A Remove non-friable asbestos

    Melbourne (Derrimut)

    $297

    Book now

    Sold out

  • Nov 3rd

    CPCCBC4051A Supervise asbestos removal

    Melbourne (Derrimut)

    $347

    Book now

    Sold out

  • Nov 5th

    CPCCDE3014A Remove non-friable asbestos

    Brisbane (Brendale)

    $297

    Book now

    Sold out

  • Nov 6th

    CPCCBC4051A Supervise asbestos removal

    Brisbane (Brendale)

    $347

    Book now

    Sold out

  • Dec 3rd

    CPCCDE3014A Remove non-friable asbestos

    Brisbane (Brendale)

    $297

    Book now

    Sold out

  • Dec 4th

    CPCCBC4051A Supervise asbestos removal

    Brisbane (Brendale)

    $347

    Book now

    Sold out

  • Dec 7th

    CPCCDE3014A Remove non-friable asbestos

    Melbourne (Derrimut)

    $297

    Book now

    Sold out

  • Dec 8th

    CPCCBC4051A Supervise asbestos removal

    Melbourne (Derrimut)

    $347

    Book now

    Sold out

  • No scheduled courses - please call us to discuss your requirements

Latest OHS news

Manual Handling – what is it and what are the risks?

What is manual handling? Manual handling is the transporting or supporting of a load including lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving objects by hand or by bodily force. It ap...

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Manual handling certificate

Are you looking for a workers course for manual handling trainer that can be used for refresher training? We offer an online course for healthcare workers including those who work in aged care. Or...

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Why is manual handling awareness in healthcare important?

Manual handling remains the single largest cause of injuries to health care workers. Importantly, manual handling injuries are a significant cause of the loss of nurses from health and community se...

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Testimonials

“In over 20 years of training, this was one of the best courses I’ve ever attended.”

Queensland Rail

“Great! The instructor made it interesting and enjoyable”

Leighton Contractors

” We heard that AlertForce delivers one of the best courses around so the boss decided to send me to Australia from New Zealand.”

Participant Public Course

“I liked the trainer’s positive outlook and uplifting approach towards completing the long day.”

Visionstream

“Very competent training course. Trainer was very knowledgeable on subject.”

Servicestream

“AlertForce provided an excellent trainer,  knowledgeable on the topic and allowed for active questioning.”

DHS

“Informative and concise training delivered at the right pace.”

AFMA.gov.au

“The Trainer was very engaging”

Fair Work Commission

“Interesting, informative, relevant.”

Airservices Australia

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