12 Ways to Make Small Businesses Safer
Manual handling happens in most small businesses and involves using your body to exert force to lift, lower, push, pull, carry, move, hold or restrain objects or people.
It is the biggest cause of workplace injury in Victoria. Each year, thousands of people are injured as a result of manual handling.
Manual handling injuries typically occur when employees lift heavy or awkward items, as well as when they carry out repetitive actions such as stacking or unstacking items. The risk of injury may be increased if these tasks are carried out over long periods, at a fast pace or in other difficult conditions.
Environmental factors such as heat, cold and lighting levels can also increase the risk of an injury.
- Use mechanical aids such as trolleys, conveyors, hoists or forklifts to move objects.
- Regularly maintain mechanical aids.
- Design or adjust work surfaces so they are the correct height for employees and so there is adequate space for working or storage.
- Use adjustable platforms or scissor lifts so employees can load and unload objects from around waist height and without having to extend their reach.
- Suspend hand tools and hold items in jigs or vices so they can be orientated to ensure favourable postures when being worked on.
- Select tools with anti-vibration or anti-kickstart features.
- Ensure adequate space is provided for work or storage and trolleys are used to move items. The work area should be between knee and shoulder height, and close to the employee's body.
- Where possible, automate manual tasks and processes or provide suitable mechanical aids. If not possible, ensure employees regularly rotate to different tasks.
- Ensure employees are trained how to use equipment safely.
View WorkSafe's information on manual handling or guidance, Officewise – A guide to health and safety in the office, A guide to handling large, bulky or awkward items, Assessing and controlling manual handling risks checklist.