Common hazards of manual handling

trade workers manually handling timber

What is manual handling?

In any work environment, you are bound to be surrounded by hazards. A common occurrence of a workplace hazard is manual handling. You use your body to lift, pull, push, and hold things, whether it is a light or heavy object.

There are several hazards associated with manual handling, and you seldom realise that you are performing a harmful task until it is too late.  

A common injury of manual handling is back injuries.

Back injuries are caused by several hazardous tasks that you undertake while manual handling, some of which are:

  • Transferring heavy materials and equipment
  • Working at heights
  • Working in a confined space
  • Heavy physical work
  • Repetitive actions
  • No mechanical aid used
  • Poor ergonomics
  • Sitting at a cramped desk and typing for long periods at a time
  • Poor posture

If you are not cautious with how you conduct manual handling, you could cause your body to suffer from musculoskeletal disorders (MSD)

MSD is a series of disorders associated with joints, spinal vertebrae, and intervertebral discs, producing conditions that may affect your movement.


Arthropathies are when the cartilage between the facet joints begins to break down. The facet joints are a set of synovial, plane joints between the articular processes of two adjoining vertebrae. The breakdown of facet joints can be caused by:


Some examples of arthropathies are:

Symptoms may include:


Dorsopathies is a medical term relating to the deteriorating process in the spine or vertebrae area. It is a network of painful neurological symptoms in the back, accompanied by limitations in spinal movement, damage to the muscle fibres, ligaments, and blood vessels. It means that the life quality of the spine and joints are deteriorating.

Dorsopathies affects the vertebrae and the intervertebral parts of the spine.

Your spinal cord is made up of a series of bones known as the vertebrae, which is separated by spinal discs. The function of these discs is to hold the vertebrae and is an essential part of having a strong and healthy spine. The discs also work as shock absorbers for your spine and assists in the protection of your bones. 

Regular manual handling can cause strain on your back and can weaken your spinal discs, increasing the dangers of a herniated disc.

Herniated disc

A herniated disc occurs when the exterior layer of the spinal disc cracks causing the internal gel-like material to apply pressure on nearby nerves, which can cause discomfort and pain.

Other common musculoskeletal disorder injuries are:

  • Sprains and strains
  • Soft tissue injuries to wrists, arms, shoulders, neck, or legs
  • Chronic pain
man holding his back in pain

Ask yourself these two questions:

  1. Have you felt pain through your back while bending to pick or lift something?
  2. Have you experienced a tingling feeling in your lower back while trying to stand up straight?

 If you have felt any pain in your back, then it is time to visit your chiropractor or physiotherapist for a medical check-up.

Your orthopaedic or neurosurgeon may recommend some procedures that you may need to follow before surgery can be considered as an option.

The cost of treatment therapy or surgery for a herniated disc or any neurosurgical procedure can be expensive. Health Deal has partnered with some health funds to find you the prefect health cover to help cover some of these costs. Our service is absolutely free and we are completely unbiased in our decision.  hat are you waiting for? Call Health Deal on 1300 369 399


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