Tip of the Week: Save your back

Published: Wednesday 3rd February 2016

Manual handling to save your back

Learning the most effective way to move heavy or bulky objects can help you to avoid one of the most common injuries that occurs in the workplace – hurting your back. View an online filmclip on the best manual handling technique to ensure you lift smarter, not harder.

What you should consider
Common items that are carried can include stacks of documents, exam papers, reams of printer paper, containers of lab equipment and teaching accessories - all of which can be bulky or deceptively heavy.  Remember, it is not just the weight of a load that can pose a risk, the factors below should also be considered in order to avoid overexertion and to minimize the risk of injury:
  • the number of times the load is to be lifted or moved
  • the person's posture when lifting
  • the distance the load is to be moved
  • the design of the work area and layout of the workplace, eg whether the load is to be moved in a restricted space or on an uneven surface
  • movements, forces and vibration relating to the task
  • the duration of the task
  • the systems of work used
  • whether the load is compact or bulky, and the ease of getting a grip on it.

When significant a load needs to be moved, managers are encouraged to consult the Hazardous Manual Tasks Code of Practice for guidance on how to assess the risk of lifting heavy loads, and a range of options for controlling the risk.

Ergonomic backsavers

Sitting correctly at your desk for your daily work can also save your back.

The online video library - SafetyHub  - contains a collection of videos that will help you to avoid the most common workplace hazards. View the office safety filmclip for tips on how to set up your workstation ergonomically or browse the entire collection of Safetycare’s health, safety and skills videos.

If you have any queries regarding SafetyHub, please contact ACU's Manager Work, Health and Safety.