Manual Handling - Are You at Risk?

Manual handling is a major hazard in the retail, fast food and distribution industries, resulting in many injuries.

Manual handling laws require your employer to assess your workplace and eliminate or reduce the risk of injury.

Don't wait for your employer to act. If you have any suggestions to prevent manual handling injuries, tell your employer that you would like to be involved and consulted, or contact the SDA.

What are Manual Handling Injuries?

Most employees in the retail, fast food and distribution industries perform a variety of jobs throughout their working day, including stock distribution, customer service, checkout operation, warehousing and administration.

Manual handling is more than just lifting. It involves a range of activities including holding, pushing, pulling, carrying and sustained and/or stressful postures.

Many workers experience manual handling injuries during their working lives. The most common manual handling injuries in the retail, fast food and distribution industries are:

  • Back injuries
  • Sprains and strains
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Shoulder and arm paid
  • Overuse injuries

Injuries can occur as a result of a single event, but can also occur as a result of 'wear and tear' over time.

Risk Factors

There are many workplace risk factors which cause manual handling injuries. Are any of these risk factors present at your workplace?

  • Bending to stock low shelves
  • Stretching to stock high shelves
  • Twisting to reach stock
  • Handling heavy and bulky items
  • Moving large awkward items
  • Repetitive lifting
  • Excessive work rates and standards
  • Lifting goods on and off pallets
  • Poorly designed workstations
  • Cramped storage areas
  • Hard or slippery floors
  • Poor maintenance programs
  • Insufficient training and education of workers

And remember - young, inexperienced workers are the most likely to suffer workplace accidents.

Employers have a legal responsibility in Australia to eliminate the risk of manual handling injuries.

More Information

For more information on manual handling injuries or to get a copy of the Manual Handling. Are you at Risk booklet, contact the SDA