Manual handling consists of activities involving pushing, pulling, lifting, carrying, and other related manoeuvres, all of which make up a normal day in the workplace for most people. Automation has its own limitations and can only do so much. Therefore most of the time, people have to do these activities manually.

If safe manual handling procedures are not attended to, manual handling tasks can create unnecessary risks to both physical and mental health. Sudden physical injuries are also probable. The risk due to inappropriate manual handling means that workplace manual handling training is an essential component of organisations’ compliance training.

Whilst most workers are competent and adaptive, everybody has their own set of limitations that cannot be ignored. This can vary from poor posture and inappropriate lifting of basic items through to more complex manual handling tasks within a factory or on a construction site. Just like machines, if we do not look after ourselves, we will develop faults or even break down after long-term misuse. When physical health takes a toll, mental health follows, and that is the start of a downward spiral.

As an employer, there are consequences of not taking care of the physical safety of your employees that go far beyond injury downtime and decreased productivity. These injuries can be split into three main categories: short-term and superficial injuries, long-term injuries and mental health problems.

1. Short-term and/or superficial injuries

These kinds of injuries are mostly caused unexpectedly. They can happen in the form of small accidents. Short term injuries can be avoided with proper workplace manual handling training and clearly outlined work health and safety training and policies. Safety gear, such as gloves, helmets, etc., is imperative for all manually working employees to reduce the risk of such hazards. Having a first aid kit with adequate supplies is a must-have for all kinds of business, whether that be in a small office or a large warehouse.

Short-term injuries include bruises, cuts, sprains, tears, hairline fractures, muscle strain, etc. Unexpected accidents include losing grip and dropping a load on the foot, lifting an excessively heavy load with a wrong posture, or falling or tripping while carrying a load.

These injuries can be cured and are reversible by first aid, rest, and physiotherapy in some cases.

2. Long-term injuries

Long-term injuries are a result of an accumulation of wrong practices of workplace manual handling over time. Incorrect manual handling for strenuous activities, bad posture, improper techniques, gradual wear and tear, etc., do not cause harm immediately, but as time passes, symptoms show up that are hard to reverse and may cause severe damage to the body. For instance, these injuries cause damage to the musculoskeletal system of the body, including bones, joints, ligaments, nerves, muscles, tendons and blood vessels. These disorders are also known as musculoskeletal disorders.

They might cause loss of employment and severe impairment in day-to-day activities and physical capacity. Lack of physical capabilities due to injuries can cause mental disturbances that can evolve into mental disorders.

Long-term injuries require a long time to recover if the injury is not permanent.

3. Mental health issues

Long-term injuries caused by an absence of workplace manual handling training can result in mental problems and mental disorders. These mental health problems are a serious knock-off result of physical injuries directly and indirectly. The inability to perform tasks that one previously could cause a feeling of despair and hopelessness. Physical injuries can also rob a person of their capacity to work, resulting in a job loss that can further add to the already existing stress of physical injury.

Long-term stress and anxiety, depression, anger issues, emotional dysregulation etc, can be caused as a side effect of dealing with long-term injuries that are disabling and have difficult-to-manage symptoms.

Save your employees the dilapidating effects of these injuries and save your business from losing good talent by having proper manual handling workplace training in place.

Our manual handling course takes only 15 minutes to complete and deals with safe manual handling practices and how to minimise the risk of injuries caused by improper manual handling.

For more information, call us at 1300 040 589 or email us at