Although most workers, especially in the building industry often underestimate the danger of manual handling incidents, a recent incident involving a plasterer in The ACT is an example of why manual handling hazards need to be awarded the same attention as other hazards on a construction site.

According to an article on the plasterer was engaging in work on a housing construction site when he bent over to pick something up, causing him to injure his back.

Read the post which explains what happened:

A 34-year-old plasterer had to be lowered from the second storey of a home construction site, where he was working this morning, with a hydraulic lift.

The ACT Fire and Rescue was called to assist the man because he was not able to use the scaffolding to get down.

ACT Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe said that safety inspectors had been at the site but were not concerned about safety there.

He said that the incident happened when the man bent over to pick up something and his back apparently locked up.

Mr McCabe doesn’t think that there are work safety issues with the incident.


Manual handling injuries are too commonly ignored by workers, causing them to deteriorate over time. Injuries often occur due to wear and tear, built up over time which cause stress on the body,such as the repetitive work of plastering or heavy lifting of bricklayers. These effects often become more disabling as workers age so workers often ignore them when they are occurring, during their youth.

Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations dictate that employers and employees work together to manage manualhandling risks.

Authorities place duties on employers, contractors and employees to manage risks including manual handling risks. As the employer has greater control over the wayin which the work is done, they also have a greater share of theresponsibility for managing the risk.

Manual Handling legislation requires employers and employees to work together and communicate to identify and assess the risk ofinjury arising from manual handling activities at work.

Together employers and workers should consider if it is absolutely necessary to manually lift the load. If it is not, they should consider if it can be lifted using mechanical means instead. Determine whether another worker will be able to assist you anticipate that the load is heavier than you can manage.

Manual handling is not just lifting and carrying loads but can include repetitive activities such as prolonged twisting, stooping, awkward or unbalanced postures, fixed, sustained, rigid, prolonged postures, unvaried, repetitive postures, handling or reaching away from the body, handling heavy or awkward loads or handling that goes on too long without a break.

Workers should remember that only loads which they are physically able to lift should be carried. They must consider its height, weight and overall size before attempting to push, pull or lift it.


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