Twelve tips for manual handling

About 30 per cent of injuries in the NSW road freight transport industry are caused by unsafe manual handling.

The impact on your business can be grim; lost time, more pressure on co-workers to pick up the slack and potential failure to meet targets or fulfil orders. The impact on your workers and their families can also be dramatic.

It is in your workers’ and business’ best interests to limit exposure to manual handling incidents.

The tips below include advice on how to be safe when handling freight:

  1. Try not to lift at all, or failing that, use mechanical aids to reduce risk. A trolley or pallet jack may save your back, and time!
  2. if you absolutely must manually lift an object, think before you lift it and decide where you are going to place it. Have a clear path before starting out and make several trips with smaller and lighter loads.
  3. use good manual handling practice
  4. never lift from a standing position
  5. stand as close to the object as possible then kneel, resting one knee on the floor before lifting
  6. use your core muscles for strength
  7. hold the object close to your body and rest it on your knee as you get ready to stand
  8. aim to maintain the natural curve in your lower back
  9. use your leg muscles and not your back to lift the object
  10. keep your eyes directed upwards – this helps to keep your back straight
  11. don’t lift goods – or push/pull – from above the shoulder
  12. if possible, get someone to help you lift.

To contact WorkCover NSW, call 13 10 50 or visit our website.

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