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Manual Handling Education

What is Manual Handling?

Manual handling is one type of physical activity that falls under the category of "hazardous manual tasks." It is still the most common cause of workplace injuries in NSW.

Manual handling includes any task that requires a person to lift, lower, push, pull, carry or otherwise move, hold or restrain any person, animal or thing.

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If the task also involves any of the following:


  • repetitive or sustained force

  • high or sudden force

  • repetitive movement

  • sustained or awkward posture

  • exposure to vibration


It is called a hazardous manual task


What does education in manual handling prevent?


Manual handling education helps prevent musculoskeletal disorders (or MSD).


A musculoskeletal disorder is an injury or disease of the muscular or skeletal system.

This can occur in two ways:


  1. Over time as a result of gradual damage to muscles and the skeletal system from poor manual handling techniques

  2. Sudden damage caused by unexpected forces or heavy loads (this does not include injuries from crushing or entrapment)


Some examples of musculoskeletal disorders are:


  • Chronic pain

  • Sprains and strains

  • Back injuries and injuries to the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hands, hip, knee, ankle, and feet

  • Nerve injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome

What manual handling training should be provided to workers?

The law says a person conducting a business or undertaking must provide “any information, training, instruction or supervision that is necessary to protect all persons from risks to their health and safety” (WHS Act 2011, section 19 f).


The Hazardous Manual Tasks Code of Practice (page 32) further clarifies this as “If a risk of MSDs [Musculoskeletal Disorders] remains after implementing higher level control measures, then the risk must be minimised by providing information, training and instruction.”

What Manual handling training is available?

Courtenell can provide training in risk assessment of hazardous manual handling, in correct manual handling techniques and correct ergonomic setup of computer workstations, to assist you to achieve compliance with legal requirements.


What are the workplace health and safety duties in relation to Musculoskeletal Disorders?

The work health and safety law says in Regulation 60 “A person conducting a business or undertaking must manage risks to health and safety relating to a musculoskeletal disorder associated with a hazardous manual task.”


This means an employer must:


1. IDENTIFY any hazardous manual tasks in their workplace


2. ASSESS how injury could occur and the degree of risk that it represents to their workforce


3. CONTROL the risk to the lowest level possible (if it cannot be eliminated entirely) using a variety of control measures; such as, using mechanical lifting aids, rotating workers between different tasks, adjusting workstations, and providing manual handling training for workers so they can effectively use any control measure implemented


4. MONITOR and REVIEW the workplace and the effectiveness of control measures put in place to protect workers


These steps are covered in the Hazardous Manual Tasks Code of Practice


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