Manual Handling

Manual Handling refers to any activity (repetitive and non-repetitive) that requires the use of exerted force by a person to lift, push, pill, carry, lower, or otherwise move, hold or restrain a person, animal or thing.

Manual Handling occurs all the time in our day-to-day activities and is one of the most common causes of injury.

Reducing the Risk of Manual Handling Injuries

  • Perform a variety of tasks throughout the day
  • Alternate between tasks wherever possible and take breaks from repetitive tasks (helps prevent RSI)
  • Minimise bending and twisting movements
  • Change posture and position throughout the day to avoid prolonged sitting or standing
  • Be close to things you are reaching for- avoid over-reaching
  • Do not work in cramped, cluttered, uneven and poorly lit areas
  • Wear proper PPE

Safe Lifting Technique

  • Assess the load: is carrying it the only option? Do you need assistance? Can it be broken down? Is the path to where you want to go clear?
  • Lifting: bend your knees, not your back; grasp the load firmly and keep it close to your body; push up with your legs; keep the load against your body; don’t rush
  • Finishing: release the load safely onto a stable surface; you may need to bend your knees again if placing it back on the ground


Stretching should be performed before undertaking any manual handling activities. It helps to reduce muscle tension and improves flexibility, circulation and posture.

Stretch slowly, to the point where muscles feel comfortable; hold for around 10 seconds; release slowly

Contact for Further information

UNE Work Health and Safety (WHS) Team:

For a print version to display on WHS Notice Boards please click here.