Manual task training

Two types of training should be considered at every workplace where manual tasks are performed and potentially hazardous.- risk management for manual tasks and task specific training. These have been outlined in the Manual Task Code of Practice (2010).

Risk management training 

Everyone involved in organising and implementing manual task processes where hazards have been identified should be trained in risk management for manual tasks.

The level, length and type of training provided should be tailored and comparable to the risk involved and the role of the participants involved in the risk management process. Any training should focus on the specific problems identified in the assessment process and take on a participatory approach. Depending on the degree of risk, participants should have an understanding of some or all of:

  • The key sections of the OSH Regulations relating to manual tasks and this code of practice;
  • The role and responsibilities of the employer, workers and others and the consultation which should take place between employer and works in order to identify hazardous manual tasks, and to assess and control risks; 
  • Basic function of the spine, body postures, types of muscle work and principles of levers;
  • The relationship between the human body and risk of injury from performing manual tasks; 
  • The activities included in manual tasks and the types of injuries that can result’
  • Risk factors and potential sources of risk of hazardous manual tasks;
  • The risk management approach to manual tasks; and 
  • The application of relevant controls strategies (e.g., purchasing and using appropriate equipment). 

Task specific training

Those workers and self-employed people required to undertake the task should also attend task specific training.

After training, participants should be able to:

  • Recognise the risks and the sources of risks associated with the manual tasks, and in consultation decide the best way to minimise them;
  • Prepare the workplace layout and environment to perform manual tasks safely;
  • Prepare the load, where applicable;
  • Organise the task and work flow to minimise the risk of injury;
  • Select, adjust and use relevant mechanical aids and handling devices;
  • Select, adjust and use relevant tools and equipment; and 
  • Perform and maintain safe work practices.

WorkSafe has developed a sample training package that can be adapted and modified for your workplace.

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