Looking at Manual Handling

Hi Folks,

I thought I would jump on board the newsletter train and provide some brief information about manual handling along with a couple of simple tips about looking after yourselves.
I want to start with a huge thank you! Staff do a brilliant job in what can be very difficult and at times thankless circumstances. I am going to take a gamble and speak on behalf of our participants, their families and our organization and thank you all for the amazing job that you do day in and day out! Your energy and efforts help maximize the freedom of the people you support which allows them to get on with living and enjoying life! I hope that each of you are regularly reminded or take the time to reflect on the great things that you do and the huge positive impact you have on the lives of those you support.

What is Manual handling?

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations define it as 'any transporting or supporting of a load (including the lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving thereof) by hand or by bodily force'. It is not just heavy lifting! It includes repetitive activity, sustained muscle exertion and effort needed to maintain fixed postures.

What is Manual handling in the disability and community care services?

The manual handling of people, particularly assisting clients with daily activities such as personal care and mobility tasks constitute a large proportion of the manual handling activities performed by care workers.

While the organizations Manual Handling Mandatory Competency provides an overview of manual handling techniques, we also have the manual handling checklist and the manual handling plan to provide participant specific support information.

The purpose of our Manual Handling Checklists and Plans:

The purpose of the Manual Handling Checklist is to provide a transparent and inclusive process whereby stakeholders/staff are able to identify and review the manual handling tasks/risks involved in caring for participants.

The purpose of the Manual Handling Plan is to ensure that the health and safety of both staff and participants is assessed and that safe work procedures are documented to inform employees of the safest way to perform a task.


Video footage of each identified procedure as listed on the checklist can be found under “Publications” in the “Video Library” on Sheldon. Any needs/variances beyond that of generic procedures should be referred to an Occupational Therapist.

Injuries and their impact:

The trouble with manual handling injuries is none of them are as spectacular as other workplace injuries. Rather they tend to creep up on the victim after years and years of improper practices. While it might be quicker at the time to cut corners the longer term impacts can be permanent and result in reduced career longevity and quality of life!

Types of manual handling injuries:

- Musculoskeletal e.g. constant or intermittent pain in low back or neck.
- Shoulders e.g. rotator cuff damage.
- Disc damage.
- Nerve damage e.g. Sciatic nerve.

Things that we can do to minimize risk of injury and promote long term well-being.

Basic manual handling tips:
- Assess the manual handling risk.
- Maintain 3-natural curves of spine.
- Use appropriate shoulder posture.
- Use squat or half-kneel instead of bending back.
- Face the task.
- Use a wide base of support.
- Keep the load close.
- Minimise static muscle contractions.
- Change posture frequently.

What you can do to improve your work fitness:

- Drink water.
- Participate in preventative health treatment e.g. chiropractor, massage therapist.
- Establish a program of stretching.
- Prioritise rest /recovery time.
- Participate in gentle exercise e.g. Yoga, Pilates.
- Listen to your body.
- Recognise your limitations.

12 simple stretches to help maintain flexibility and agility

Simple Steps

Take care

Craig Edwards – Clinical Resource Officer