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In Australia, lifting and moving loads manually is one of the most common causes of injury at work. On top of that, working from heights (and other rope access activities) can further increase the risk of sprains and strains, and are a major cause for lost-time accidents. The most common injuries are back injuries (including nerve damage), and knee/shoulder strains.

Have you ever had a back injury?How much did it impact your work and personal life? Remember: Back injuries can be very painful and could mean you never work again. It’s important to therefore follow manual handling controls when using or moving equipment and materials at work.

Manual handling injuries occur from improper technique and/or sustained and awkward postures and/or repetitive motion.


The most effective measure is to avoid the need for manual handling completely (e.g., using mechanical aids like a trolly, jacks, 2-man lift).

• Never attempt to lift a weight that is beyond your physical ability; ask for help. NEVER push to your limits to “get the job done faster”.
• Never attempt to drag, push, or leaver heady or large items, when there are safer options available (e.g., use a trolly or a 2-man lift).
• Plan what you are about to do in your mind before you start the lift.
• Protect your hands by using gloves when objects have sharp edges.
• Performing warm-up exercises before undertaking any strenuous activity.
• Arrange work so that lifting over shoulder height is not carried out.


If you are going to lift – use proper lifting techniques.

  • Performing movements smoothly and in a controlled manner.
  • Bend knees when lifting loads from the ground or a low position.
  • Hold loads close to the body.
  • Carry out work in a comfortable position with proper breaks.
  • Keep loads light and gain assistance when carrying heavy or unwieldy objects.

If you feel any discomfort whilst carrying out a task, stop the job and reposition yourself prior to commencing the task. If discomfort continues, or the task cannot be carried out safely, it should not be carried out at all, without mechanical aids.
If you experience pro-longed tenderness, stiffness or tingling an in affected area, stop – inform your manager, and (if required) see your doctor for a COC. If you are injured, then we will immediately arrange a light-duties return to work plan to give you the fastest road to recovery.

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