Manual handling

​Principals and school staff must follow the Manual Handling Policy, Manual Handling Procedure and Resource section which are available in the Policy and Advisory Library (PAL).

Corporate and regional staff should refer to the following information.

Manual handling

Manual handling injuries account for a significant proportion of all injuries that occur within the Department and that in most cases they are preventable.

Manual handling is not simply the act of lifting items. Hazardous manual handling can be defined as work requiring the use of force exerted by a person to lift, lower, push, pull, carry or otherwise move, hold or restrain a thing, if the work involves one or more of the following:

  • sustained awkward posture
  • repetitive movement
  • application of single or repetitive use of unreasonable amount of force
  • exposure to vibration
  • lifting persons or animals
  • unbalanced or unstable loads
  • loads that are difficult to grasp or hold.

There is no legislated weight limit that is considered “safe” for manual handling. Individuals have different physical capabilities which must be considered when taking into account any manual handling task. The weight of an object is not necessarily the only thing that makes a task hazardous.

Relevant sections of the OHSMS


Legislation, guidance and compliance codes

  • Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004
  • Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017
  • WorkSafe Victoria Compliance Code: Hazardous Manual Handling

Contact us

OHS Advisory Service 1300 074 715 or email

Further information