Manual handling grants - Supporting innovative solutions

WorkSafe is supporting Victorian businesses working to reduce the risks of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) through the WorkSafe Manual Handling Grants program.



WorkSafe is committed to working alongside Victorian businesses to reduce the incidence and severity of MSDs, the leading cause of severe long-term pain and disability among Victorians injured at work.

Six Victorian businesses have been successful in receiving the manual handing grant to address hazardous manual handling and reduce MSDs.

Hazardous manual handling and MSDs

Manual handling is work that requires someone to lift, lower, push, pull, carry, move, hold or restrain something or someone. It’s hazardous manual handling if it involves:

  • repeated, sustained or high force
  • sustained awkward posture
  • repetitive movements
  • exposure to sustained vibration
  • handling people or animals
  • loads that are unstable, unbalanced or hard to hold

Hazardous manual handling creates a risk of MSDs. Psychosocial factors can also increase the risk of MSDs. Psychosocial factors are social, cultural and environmental factors that affect mental health and behaviour.

MSDs are the most common type of workplace injury. They include:

  • sprains and strains
  • back injuries
  • soft-tissue injuries to wrists, arms, shoulders, neck or legs
  • hernias
  • chronic pain

The grants are designed to support Victorian businesses to reduce the impact of MSDs by making manual handling safer.

Manual handling grants

Grants were available in late 2022 to Victorian businesses.

Successful initiatives must plan to improve awareness and understanding of the physical and psychosocial factors that contribute to MSDs. Successful initiatives must promote innovative thinking and design, and support sustainable actions to reduce the risks of hazardous manual handling.

Applicants were also asked to deliver outcomes such as:

  • better workplace consultation to improve risk management practices and controls for MSDs
  • changed attitudes and behaviours toward identifying and addressing MSDs risk
  • promotion of early prevention of the physical and psychosocial factors that contribute to MSDs
  • implementation, monitoring, evaluation and improvement of solutions that address physical and psychosocial factors that contribute to MSDs in work tasks

Grants were awarded to initiatives aiming to either radically improve or innovate risk management practices and risk controls, or to translate research into practice.

Manual handling grant recipients

Life Without Barriers

Moving together safely

Moving Together Safely (MST) is a program of good safety practice to empower frontline workers with the knowledge, skill, and confidence to manage manual handling risks in their workplace with the intent of injury prevention. The strategic elements of the program are safety culture, developing leadership capability, consultation, hazard identification, risk management, equipment review and training.

Productivity Matters Pty Ltd

Food flourish

The Food Flourish project aims to comprehensively understand Food Services manual handling risks (including psychosocial and physical hazards) and develop resources for ongoing use across like facilities, and to evaluate the success of implemented risk controls.

This project partners with the Austin Health, Barwon Health, Mercy Health, Mildura Hospital, Monash Health, St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne, and The Alfred.


Scope people safe project

This project aims to provide the disability sector with an enhanced suite of tools designed to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and psychological harm associated with supporting people with a disability who have both manual handling and behaviour support needs. The tools will utilise risk management approaches, reflect the hierarchy of controls, and include risk assessments, social stories, toolbox talks, and videos.

Hilite Pty Ltd

Minimisation of MSDs for early childhood educators

The project addresses the impact of repetitive motions on the lower back within an early learning education setting. In consultation with employees, Hilite will source or develop solutions to eliminate or reduce risks associated with hazardous manual handling tasks in the early learning industry.

More information

For more information about the WorkSafe Manual Handling Grant Program email - [email protected].