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What is Manual Handling and why is it important?

Manual handling includes tasks like lifting boxes, using hand tools, operating machinery, cleaning, painting and packaging.

What is manual handling?

Manual handling includes tasks like lifting boxes, using hand tools, operating machinery, cleaning, painting and packaging. Basically, any physical labour you perform at work.

Why is manual handling important?

Manual handling tasks must be done correctly to prevent injury to staff. For example, there is a risk of back injury when lifting heavy boxes incorrectly.

While the equipment we use every day at work is meant to assist us, there is a degree of risk associated with using machinery and tools associated with some occupations. It’s important to be properly trained on how best to use them for the health of staff, preventing injuries and maintaining overall workplace wellbeing.

What are manual handling injuries?

Training and supervision are essential in recognising hazards and implementing safe working methods. Fortunately, most manual handling injuries can be prevented by staff receiving the proper training.

Manual handling injuries can include:

  • Back and neck injuries
  • Joint injuries
  • Hernia
  • Slips and falls
  • Stress fractures
  • Cuts, bruises and broken bones
  • Strains and sprains
  • Occupational overuse syndrome (OOS)

What is manual handling training?

Manual handling training gives employees the skills to safely undertake manual handling tasks, reducing their risk of injury. Appropriate training empowers participants to ensure they are working safely, comfortably and productively at work.

What does manual handling training involve?

Training for manual handling involves a qualified allied health professional coming to your workplace to conduct specialised sessions with your staff. Rehab Management offers group workplace training, train the trainer and advanced manual handling training which takes a minimum of 2 hours (longer for larger and more complex workforces).

Rehab Management offer comprehensive manual handling assessments and training to a variety of industries and workplaces. Find out more and book your session.

Brie in the mail room

Brie is a mail sorter. She works in shifts during the day, afternoon and night standing on her feet. Her daily tasks include sorting parcels (up to 16 kgs), operating equipment including conveyors, lifting devices and pallet jacks and forklift driving.

Rehab Management offers Brie’s workplace an assessment on how their staff are performing their manual handling tasks after complaints of injured backs and necks. Brie and her co-workers are assessed performing tasks such as lifting heavy parcels and operating pallet jacks. As it turns out, there is room for improvement for staff members in their manual handling techniques, including Brie.

Rehab Management train all staff and managers on safe manual handling procedures to reduce their risk of injury. Staff attend a full day workshop and are shown how to properly operate machinery including the pallet jack where the majority of strains and minor injuries occurred.

Brie and her co-workers are now empowered and safe at work as they perform their daily duties.

Brad in admin

Brad works as an office administrator. He works business hours of 9am to 5pm, most of the time sitting in his chair at his desk in front of a computer. His work tasks include entering client data on the computer, answering the phone, accepting packages and managing office inventory.

One day, Brad accepts a package from a courier. The courier brings it into the office on a trolley where it takes both of them to remove it and place it on the floor. After trying to lift the box himself, Brad pulls a muscle in his lower back and has to go to the doctors for treatment.

Brad’s office is concerned and want to prevent further injuries from happening to Brad and his colleagues. They invite Rehab Management in for manual handling training for relevant staff members including the administration and events teams. Staff are trained on how to make a safe lift of heavy boxes and other items they come across in their roles. They’re also shown how to perform stretches used to reduce fatigue of the postural muscles to help prevent injuries.

Brad and his co-workers are now prepared to perform manual handling tasks when they come across them in their roles.

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