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 it, most workers are at risk of injuries as a result of this type of labour injury.
Of course, not all tasks of this nature are hazardous. But it is significant that around a quarter of all workplace injuries are caused by physical tasks.
What kind of injuries can result from manual handling?
- Unsafe physical tasks may cause a variety of injuries and conditions including:
- Muscle sprains and strains
- Injuries to muscles, ligaments, intervertebral disks and other structures in the back
- Injuries to soft tissues such as nerves, ligaments and tendons in the wrists, arms, shoulders, neck or legs
- Abdominal hernias
- Chronic pain
Some of these conditions are known as repetitive strain injury (RSI), occupational overuse syndrome (OOS), cumulative trauma disorder (CTD) and work-related musculoskeletal disorder (WRMSD).
In the Manual Handling Regulations, all of these conditions are referred to as musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). The Regulations define MSD as an injury, illness or disease that arises in whole or in part from manual handling in the workplace, whether occurring suddenly or over a prolonged period of time.
You should consider this service if you are:
- An employer, because it will help you work out which manual handling tasks in your workplace could cause MSD, and show you how to control the risk.
- A designer, manufacturer, importer or supplier of plant for use in workplaces because it will help you ensure that users of your product are not exposed to the risk of MSD.
Click here to find more about this service available from Australian Risk Services