What makes a Manual Task Hazardous
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Courtenell Pty Ltd

as Trustee for the Vowles Family Trust

WHS Training Specialists, Sydney, Australia  

train@courtenell.com.au ~ PO Box 622 Broadway NSW 2007

ABN: 42164393628 ~ ACN: 050109281

What makes a Manual Task Hazardous?

Five Key Risk Factors

One or more of the following 5 risk factors will mean the manual task is hazardous and can cause injury to a worker.

The term hazardous manual task is defined in NSW WHS Regulation 5 as:

a task that requires a person to lift, lower, push, pull, carry or otherwise move, hold or restrain any person, animal or thing that involves 1 or more of the following:

  1. Repetitive or sustained force
  1. High or sudden force
  1. Repetitive movement
  1. Sustained or awkward posture
  1. Exposure to vibration.

Manual Task Injuries to Workers Occur in Two Ways

  1. Gradual wear and tear to joints, ligaments, muscles, and discs between the vertebrae of the spine, caused by repeated or continuous use of the same body parts, including static body positions
  2. Sudden damage caused by strenuous activity, or unexpected movements such as when loads being handled move or change position suddenly.

Injuries can also occur due to a combination of these mechanisms, for example, body tissue that has been weakened by cumulative damage may be vulnerable to sudden injury by lower forces.

WorkCover Statistics

WorkCover notes* that these injuries in NSW are the most common cause of injury:

How to Handle Hazardous Manual Tasks

You can find essential guidance material on the identification, assessment, and control of the risks of hazardous manual tasks in the Hazardous Manual Tasks Code of Practice. This is a SafeWork Australia Code of Practice that was approved and adopted by WorkCover NSW in 2012.

This article is mainly based on material in that Code of Practice.

You are welcome to download this article and distribute it within your Organisation.

* WorkCover NSW “Statistical Bulletin 2012/13 NSW Workers Compensation Statistics”.

Available Training:

BackBasics Manual Handling Course

BackBasics Workstation Set-up & Manual Handling Course

BackBasics Manual Handling Risk Management Course

Workstation Ergonomic Assessment

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Hazardous Manual Tasks

Manual Handling Training

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