The most common cause of work related injuries in Australia is manual handling. 34% of workplace injuries are caused through lifting, pushing, pulling and bending.
The risks that come with lifting incorrectly are well known. These risks are increased when extreme work loads are placed on the body – that is, either the load is too heavy or too awkward. These loads place increased stress on the spine resulting in pain (technically known as mechanical back pain).
When assessing whether a work task may create additional risks for injury, consider the following:
- Weight of the load
- Distance of the load from the body (lever arm – can the load be kept close to the body e.g. poles, long pieces of wood)
- Vertical lifting height
- Spread of the load (is one end or part of the weight heavier? E.g. a sledge hammer)
- Frequency of lifting
- Duration of lifting
- Speed of lifting
Making sure your workers are educated and aware of safe lifting practices is key to injury prevention. To help with this, we’ve created a Manual Handling Do’s and Don’ts Poster to display in your workplace.