Do you undertake manual handling in the workplace?

12 November 2019

Do you undertake manual handling in the workplace?

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To prevent any injury hazards from performing manual tasks should be controlled so far as is practicable so that workers are not exposed to hazards.

Manual tasks refer to any activity or sequence of activities that requires a person to use their physical body (musculoskeletal system) to perform work including:

  • manual handling (the use of force in lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, carrying or otherwise moving, holding or restraining any person, animal or thing);
  • performing repetitive actions;
  • adopting awkward or sustained postures; and
  • using plant, tools or equipment that exposes workers to vibration.

 

The main health problems that can arise because of performing manual tasks are musculoskeletal disorders such as sprains and strains

 

Hazards from performing manual tasks should be controlled so far as is practicable so that workers are not exposed to hazards. There are general duties and responsibilities placed upon employers, workers and contractors under the respective legislation.

 

Primary prevention – before an injury occurs

The following elements are important for organisations to have to be successful at addressing musculoskeletal disorders at the primary prevention level (before injuries occur):

  • Management commitment and perseverance to tackle sprains and strains;
  • Consultation and participation
  • Education, awareness and training
  • An ergonomics programme and programme coordinator
  • Identify hazardous manual tasks or jobs with many manual tasks, assess, control, review
  • Ergonomic assessments before problems present - Workstation, work environment e.g. space & layout, job design, equipment, systems and/or nature of items
  • Multifaceted intervention: Equipment design, procurement, supply, storage, maintenance, modification
  • Application of hierarchy of controls throughout the prevention program e.g. eliminating the hazard, redesigning work areas and / or applying administrative controls.