This Policy applies to all school staff, students, visitors, contractors, and volunteers. It also applies to all activities both on and off school property, including school camps, excursions, and any other programmed activity outside the school grounds.

The Principal will co-ordinate the plan for managing manual handling in the school, and will ensure that resources are provided to meet OHS commitments.

Our aim is to promote and maintain the health and wellbeing of staff, students and visitors, and to minimise the risks of manual handling injuries by implementing a systematic approach based on a Risk Management Model (see information sheet IS50) as follows:-

–  The Principal to nominate a management team member to manage the manual handling risk assessment process and set up a small risk assessment team. The staff health and safety representative (HSR) will be consulted during this and the following process:

–  Identify the hazardous manual handling tasks.

–  Assess the risks

–  Control the risks

–  Monitor the controls

–  Timelines will be developed for completion of the risk assessment process and reports provided to staff and school council on progress.

–  A system will be developed to ensure that any new manual handling hazards are identified, assessed and controlled as they occur.

Person responsible for managing the risk assessment process: Geoff Ellis

Members of risk assessment team: OHS Representative/Domain Leaders/Other co-opted staff as appropriate.

Wellington Secondary College is committed to ensuring this policy is publicised and implemented and will regularly monitor and review its effectiveness.


Manual Handling Policy – Implementation


Manual Handling is defined under the Occupational Health and Safety (Manual Handling) Regulations 1999 thus. Any activity requiring the use of force exerted by a person to lift, lower, push, pull, carry or otherwise move or restrain any animate or inanimate object. Also actions involving repetition and sustained awkward posture.

Hazardous Manual Handling means when actions described above cause or have the potential to cause a Musculoskeletal Disorder (MSD) as a result of the following characteristics:

–  Repetitive or sustained application of force;

–  Repetitive or sustained awkward posture;

–  Repetitive or sustained movement;

–  Application of high force;

–  Exposure to sustained vibration.

–  Handling live persons or animals.

–  Handling unstable or unbalanced loads, or loads which are difficult to grasp or hold.      



Following is a procedure to enable the school to fulfil its obligations as stated in the Manual Handling Policy and also comply with the requirements of the OHS (Manual Handling) Regulations 1999. The HSR should be consulted about the identification, risk assessment and control of risks. For this process consult the Code of Practice for Manual Handling ( and/or the Compliance Guidelines for Schools – Manual Handling See also the DE&T publication Manual Handling Solutions for sample risk assessments (sent to schools Sept 2003).

1) Where possible, manual handling risks should be considered and designed out prior to any building upgrade, new activities and/or the purchase of all goods to be used at the school.

2) Undertake a process to identify all manual handling hazards in the school. The process should involve all school staff.

a) Look at injury records to see in which areas, and on which tasks injuries are occurring
b) Consult with employees at a special staff meeting/brain storming session about tasks which they carry out
c) Formal observation of work practices
d) In schools, manual handling risks include : 

–  Moving furniture,
–  Pushing a trolley
–  Lifting a ladder
–  Restraining a frightened child
–  Typing school reports using a notebook computer in an awkward posture
–  Stretching to reach a high shelf
–  Separating fighting students
–  Lifting high jump mats and other PE equipment
–  Standing on a table and/or chair to pin up students’ work
–  Bending to a bottom shelf to reach a carton
–  Carrying large slabs of soft drink
–  Lifting 25 litre containers of cleaning chemicals with one hand
–  Moving rocks, digging etc at a gardening bee
–  Bending over for extended periods to be at the same height as students
–  In special settings, lifting, changing, supporting and catching (dropping) children
–  Poor workstation layout or design.


3) The risk assessment team should then undertake a risk assessment on tasks identified as having a hazardous manual handling component. The purpose of assessing the risk is to firstly establish if there is risk involved in a task and secondly to determine the level of risk: high medium or low.
The risk assessment must take into account the following factors:

–  The force to be applied by the employee.
–  The actions and movements involved (eg reaching up, forward reaching, unbalanced or uneven lifting or carrying, awkward grip).
–  The range of weights handled.
–  The duration and frequency of the manual handling.
–  The time, and distance, over which an object is handled.
–  The availability of mechanical aids.
–  The layout and condition of the workplace environment (eg height of workbenches, restricted access, confined space, hot/cold, poorly lit, floor surfaces slippery or uneven).
–  The work organisation (eg availability of people, flow of materials, lack of time ).
–  The postural requirements imposed by manual handling (eg bending, twisting, stretching).
–  The analysis of injury statistics relevant to manual handling.
–  The age of the person carrying out the manual handling.
–  The skill and experience of the person.
–  The nature of the object being handled (e.g. size, shape structure and material, animate or inanimate.).
–  Any other factors considered relevant by the employer, the employees or the HSR. Need to consider the risks to staff returning from leave, teaching a new subject/in a new environment etc.

4)   Once the risk assessments have been conducted controls should be developed by the risk assessment team starting with the tasks rated as high risk.

When developing controls the risk control hierarchy is as follows:

–  redesign to eliminate or reduce the risk as a first step;
–  change the workplace, systems of work and/or the object;
–  provide mechanical aids to reduce the risk and training in their use;
–  training and education appropriate to the task.

For some manual handling tasks a combination of the risk control methods for reducing risk may be appropriate, however information, training or instruction should never be the sole or primary means of controlling the risk.

5)   Once the control measures are in place, they must be monitored to make sure they

–  are being used correctly
–  are not increasing the risk of injury
–  do help to reduce the manual handling risk and
–  do not need further improvement.


The OHS (Manual Handling) Regulations 1999 and Code of Practice for Manual Handling. (VWA 2000)

The Compliance Guidelines for Schools – Manual Handling. (DE&T 2002)

Reduce Manual Handling Injuries (VWA 1996).

Preventing Manual Handling Injuries (Ministry of Education 1991 reprinted by the DoE 1999).

OHS Guidelines – Support Material for School (DSE 1994 updated 1999).

Victorian Government Schools Reference Guide 2003 section 6.9. (