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Managing Manual Handling

Hazards when people are manually handling objects are the single most significant cause of serious injury within industry. This applies across all occupational groups, with back injuries the most common.

Wherever possible, hazards associated with manual handling should be eliminated or reduced, by getting the supplier of a product to deliver it directly to where it is to be used or stored, using manual handling aids such as mechanical lifters, decreasing the weight of goods, improving access and storage facilities, or providing safe work practices and adequate training and supervision.

If it is not possible to eliminate or adequately reduce all manual handling hazards across industry and; training should be given a high priority. The major focus should be on using safe manual handling practices that have been developed in your specific industry. Training may also be given to assist you identify, assess and control manual handling hazards in your workplace.

TASC can assess work related tasks against the Manual Handling Code of Practice and provide staff training where required to reduce or eliminate the risks. This training would include:

  • Identifying, assessment and controlling strategies through job and task design relating to human factors;
  • Recognising and promoting the understanding of the relationship between the body and risk of manual handling injury; and
  • The risk management approach and using safe manual handling techniques.

Identified risks can be ranked in order of priority, assessed, and then relevant control measures applied to minimise or eliminate the risks. Behavioural-based safety assessments can also be undertaken to assess an individual's techniques when performing manual handling tasks.