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Manual handling

manual handling

Strain injuries can keep farm workers away from work for weeks at a time. They can happen so easily when you are lifting, pushing, pulling, carrying, lowering, holding heavy items or when you are restraining animals, moving equipment, hay or handling stock.

Manual handling injuries occur through:

  • Increased wear and tear or damage, eg from intense or strenuous manual activity
  • Gradual wear and tear
  • Heavy or awkward lifts (lifting heavy machinery or sheep onto a ute)
  • Sudden, unexpected movement (carrying a heavy object, stumbling, tripping or falling).
Farming is a very physical occupation and workers can injure themselves by lifting heavy loads such as chemicals, fertiliser, hay bales, calves, buckets, equipment, and also while handling animals. Most agricultural manual handling injuries involve the back and weight-bearing joints and the risk of injury can be minimised by good lifting techniques and safe working habits. Use mechanical lifting aids or get help to lift and carry heavy loads whenever possible.
Find out more about this topic on Better Health Channel

References used for this topic page

More information:

Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety
Department of Commerce (WA)

Clinical care:

Research & reviews:

Annals of Agricultural Environmental Health
Medical Journal of Australia
Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP)

Fast facts:

Manual handling

  • Manual handling accidents and injuries are often caused by lifting heavy objects, including animals incorrectly.
  • Always keep the load close to your body and lift with your thigh muscles.
  • Organise your work area to reduce the amount of bending, twisting and stretching required.
  • Plan ahead. Consider the safest possible ways of lifting, carrying, holding, lowering, pushing, pulling.

Page updated: 28th November, 2016