Proactive work approaches to minimise manual handling injuries

To minimise injury, increase productivity and improve worker’s health and wellbeing, its recommended that you engage with your workers to identify hazardous manual tasks, assess the risk, identify controls, equipment and monitor their suitability. 

Not all manual handling task are hazardous, but the risk factors that cause manual handling injuries can include:

  • Repetitive movement, sustained or awkward postures and high or sudden force can cause muscular stress
  • Long duration – these include tasks that are performed more than a total of 2 hours over or constantly for more than 30mins at a time
  • Vibration tasks – the risk increases as the duration of exposure increases and when vibration is set on a high level. ( for example; concrete demolition tools or powered handheld tools) 

How to control the Manual Handling Risk? 

  • Eliminating the risk is the most effective control measure.  
  • Develop control ideas, identify the source of the risk, and then determine what could be changed. 
  • Implement the most effective controls. Start at the top of the ‘hierarchy of control’ will allow workers to trial controls or equipment and give their feedback before decisions are made.  Work procedures can then be developed to ensure that controls or equipment are understood and responsibilities are clear; communicate the reasons for the change to workers and others; and ensure that any controls or equipment used in the manual task is properly maintained. 
  • Training should include information about:
      • manual tasks risk management
      • specific manual tasks risks and how to control them
      • the use of mechanical aids, tools, controls, equipment, and safe work procedures
      • how to report a problem or maintenance issue. 

Want to learn more about manual handling? We can develop training specific to your workforce and duties – get in touch with our friendly team to see what this can look like!