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Manual handling risks and potential of injury
Many injuries at work are caused by bad manual handling practices - that is, the way that people move their bodies while doing certain tasks, or the manner in which the work is carried out.
Injury can be avoided by knowing how to assess the risk of injury at any stage while carrying out work tasks.
The Department of Labour has put out a manual that identifies factors that can cause manual handling practices to potentially cause injury. These include:
- twisting, stooping, awkward or unbalanced postures
- fixed, sustained, rigid, prolonged postures
- unvaried, repetitive postures
- handling or reaching away from the body
- handling heavy or awkward loads
- handling that goes on too long without a break
The manual works by measuring the potential of injury of a job and allocating points to each existing factor.
A job that scores less than 10 points in considered unlikely to cause injuries. But a job that scores 50 is considered likely to cause injury no matter how strong or fit the worker performing the task may be. In these cases elimination of the task or redesign of the workplace is prioritised.
For a score of 40, it is recommended that the workplace be redesigned.