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Manual Lifting

Facts on Manual Handling

If you lift, push, pull, or carry something or someone at work, there is always a risk of hazardous manual handling. These are, in fact, the biggest causes of manual handling injuries in Australian workplaces. 


But what is it really costing us? 


It is estimated that manual handling injuries cost the Australian economy $28 billion every year!

According to Safe Work Australia’s Australian Workers Compensation Report for 2019-20 there were 120,355 serious claims. A claim is considered serious if more than one week off work is needed to recover from an injury.

Of the total claims, 60% were injuries caused by manual handling! The part of the body affected by the most serious injury or disease was the upper and lower back, accounting for 36% of the total claims, followed by shoulder (19%), knee (9%) and wrist (6%). In fact, back pain is such a common experience that it is estimated up to 80% of adults will have at least one severe episode of back pain in their lifetime. 



A task or work activity is considered hazardous if it involves the following:

  • Repeated, sustained or high force

Use of high forces can cause musculoskeletal disorders even if they are not repetitive or sustained. It only means that any task involving high force should be prevented as possible, even if it is done occasionally or for short periods.

  • Sustained awkward posture 

Awkward posture is when any part of your body is placed in an uncomfortable or unnatural position. e.g. bending forwards, twisting or reaching.

  • Repetitive movements 

This refers to repeating an action frequently without breaks. e.g. lifting and stacking goods into a pallet as well as repetitive tasks such as packing, typing, assembling, cleaning and sorting, using hand-tools, operating machinery and equipment, and handling and restraining animals. 

  • Exposure to sustained vibrations

The most common source of work-related vibration is driving, particularly on rough roads and prolonged use of hand power tools.

  • Handling people or animals

The unpredictable movements that require sudden changes in force distribution is the main cause for this risk.


The basic tips above are kept simple so that they are easy to remember. There are some important individual factors that can also help prevent injuries from manual handling. Your personal fitness level, level of postural awareness, and physical training for a task can all impact on your risk of injury. Optimal posture and lifting techniques can help reduce the risk. Having strong abdominal and back muscles and knowing how to use them correctly during manual handling is a great advantage!  


At Mind Heart Body Center, we can;

  • assess and train your core muscles using Real Time Ultrasound
  • assess and correct your technique for manual handling
  • assess and correct your lifting posture
  • design you a program to improve your abdominal and back muscle control during manual handling
  • offer Physio-led exercise classes
  • offer onsite workplace assessments


Pilates is a great way of developing core strength! A strong core allows you to stabilise, coordinate and move efficiently, improving your posture and decreasing the risk of injury. 


In our Pilates classes, we focus on helping you gain more body awareness through different movements, strengthen your postural muscles including your core and back muscles. The classes are tailored to each individual targeting their particular concerns and preventative needs. 


Using your deep abdominal muscles can be difficult at first, but we can help you find those muscles and can teach you how to use them at the right time.


Contact us on  8068 4696 for more information on how we can help you prevent and/or treat manual handling injuries. 



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