Manual handling covers a wide range of activities including lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, throwing and carrying. It includes repetitive tasks such as packing, typing, assembling, cleaning and sorting, using hand tools, and operating machinery and equipment.
Because most jobs involve some form of manual handling, most workers are at risk of manual handling injuries. Of course, not all manual handling tasks are hazardous. But it is significant that around a quarter of all workplace injuries are caused by manual handling.
What is hazardous manual handling?
Hazardous manual handling means manual handling that involves any of the following:
- Repetitive or sustained application of force
- Repetitive or sustained awkward posture
- Repetitive or sustained movement
- Application of high force
- Exposure to sustained vibration
- Manual handling of live people or animals – unpredictable actions and behaviour
- Manual handling of loads that are unstable, unbalanced or difficult to hold
- Forces, posture, movements and vibration usually affect each other.
Musculoskeletal disorders (i.e. disorders affecting muscles and joints) associated with manual handling cause significant human suffering and significant decreases in productivity. From recent statistics, strains and sprains affecting shoulder, neck, arm, hand or back, account for 55 per cent of all Work Cover claims, 62 per cent of all Work Cover costs and 70 per cent of long-term Work Cover claims.
When making an assessment of manual handling the following four factors must be considered:
Consider these factors:
Does it involve: