TLID1001 – Assess risks associated with relocating load Copy

TLID1001 – Assess risks associated with relocating load Copy


Topic Progress:

Element 1: Assess risks associated with relocating load

1.1 – Products, goods or materials to be relocated are identified and assessed to determine appropriate relocation method

By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:

  • Identify types of products/goods/materials which may have to be relocated in accordance with organisational requirements
  • Take relevant factors into consideration when assessing products, goods, or materials for relocation
  • Use appropriate methods for the relocation of products, goods, or materials.

Manual handling

In all areas of employment, manual tasks are a necessary part of the workplace; for example carrying items of equipment to your workstation, reaching into filing cabinets, or restocking shelves and workspaces with necessary supplies. Such activities will involve lifting, reaching, bending, moving, and twisting. When manual handling and manual tasks are done infrequently or with light loads, and only incur a small amount of stress to the body, these will not be a cause for concern. However, manual tasks that are done repetitively or cause greater stress to the physical body will need to be managed carefully and in consideration of the associated risks. These types of manual tasks are also known as hazardous manual tasks.

It is expected that you will assess and account for the risks and hazards associated with manual handling tasks, so that the causes of injury or harm can be effectively avoided. It is essential that you take part in and receive appropriate training and instruction for lifting, carrying items, and any other manual tasks that have to be carried out in the workplace.

Under Australian legislation a hazardous manual task is defined as “a task requiring a person to lift, lower, push, pull, carry or otherwise move, hold or restrain any person animal or thing, involving one or more of the following:

Repetitive or sustained force

High or sudden force

Repetitive movement

Sustained or awkward posture

Exposure to vibration.

Identifying loads for relocation

You may be expected to undertake a range of manual handling duties, involving the relocation of differently shaped and packaged items. The relocation of an item will simply involve its movement to a different area of the environment that you are working within. It is expected that you will carry out a thorough assessment of such items in order to establish the risks of movement. Such risks should either be eliminated or minimised to the greatest possible extent.

The following types of loads may have to be relocated:


Large luggage items

Baggage items

Equipment and tools

Cleaning materials

Components and parts of vehicles and equipment such as tyres, batteries, lifting gear, etc.

Materials used in the course of work such as drums of fuel, raw materials, packaging, etc.

Reference should be made to the product and stock numbers to ensure that the items for relocation are correctly identified.

Stock identification codes/labels may include:

Barcode labels

Warehouse labels

Tags including serial numbers

RFID tags.

Stock cards may be used within more complicated systems. This will involve the attachment of a card to each item of stock.

The following details may be included on the stock card:

Item description



Re-order levels

Supplier details

Details of stock history.

A manual handling assessment undertaken by a highly-qualified and experienced competent person will:

  • Establish all manual handling activities undertaken on site
  • Identify the risks associated with each of the manual handling operations
  • Identify those persons/employees who undertake any manual handling activities
  • Make recommendations as to how risks can, where reasonably practicable, be eliminated
  • Identify appropriate management controls which are required to suitably and sufficiently manage and control any residual risks which cannot otherwise be eliminated.

Source: “Manual handling assessment” S2 Partnership Ltd:

The following factors that should be taken into consideration with regards to the relocation of loads:





Centre of gravity

Unpredictability (people/animals).

Relocation methods may include:






You should apply the TILE acronym with regards to the relocation of any load:

  • Task – there should be some consideration of the nature of the manual handling activity. It might be necessary to lift, push, carry, or pull the load. There may be a need to keep the load some distance from the body, carry it a long distance, and engage in strenuous pushing or pulling. The potential health effects of such activities should be taken into account
  • Individual – the physical characteristics and manual handling capabilities of the staff member should be taken into account. It might be necessary to arrange assistance for the assurance of safety in the movement of a load
  • Load – you should continue with consideration of the characteristics of the load which has to be relocated. It might be that the load is particularly large, fragile, or difficult to handle. Equipment may be required for stability in the movement of the load
  • Environment – you should proceed to consider the environment through which the load needs to be moved. Lighting levels, availability of space, and evenness of the flooring are just a few of the factors that should be taken into account.

1.2 – Storage locations are determined and potential routes to be followed are identified

By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:

  • Take relevant factors into consideration with regards to the storage of materials/products/goods
  • Identify and make use of suitable options specific to the storage of relocated stock
  • Ensure that routes for manual handling are selected in accordance with relevant criteria.

Determining storage locations

You must ensure that all goods are stored safely and securely no matter the nature of your working environment. Use of appropriate storage methods should ensure the avoidance pollution, unnecessary wastage, and other problems. This will be particularly important for businesses such as warehouses, factories, shops, and building companies.

It is expected that you will assess the risks associated with the storage of particular types of goods and ensure that they are minimised. The risk assessment process should involve the identification of associated hazards, analysis of the respective levels of probability, and establishment of risk to people and/or property.

The following hazards should be taken into account:

  • Goods falling from shelving or racking
  • Someone falling when climbing on shelving
  • Stock or materials blocking fire exit routes
  • Accumulations of used packaging
  • Poor storage causing increased manual-handling risks, e.g. putting bulky items above head height
  • Spillages of goods causing environmental damage or increasing the risk of slips and trips
  • Exposure to badly stored hazardous substances
  • Contamination or danger caused by storing inappropriate materials together
  • The use of mechanical handling equipment, e.g. loads falling from forklift trucks
  • Vandalism, theft, and arson causing pollution
  • Exposure to flammable substances.

Source: “Storing goods and materials safely” NI Business:

Options for the storage of relocated goods include:

  • Block stacking – if the height of the premises is relatively low, the types of goods are quite robust, and the budget is limited then this may be the most appropriate storage option. It will involve the arrangement of goods in unit loads and stacking on the floor in accordance with the maximum safe height. Goods that are considered suitable for this type of storage include white goods such as dishwashers, cans, and bottles
  • Racked storage – this type of storage may be referred to as adjustable pallet racking (APR) or wide aisle racking (WAR). It is quite common to find warehouses featuring wide aisle racking. It can be used for the storage of pallets in either long or short side configurations. It allows for easy access to the pallets in comparison with other types of racking
  • Double-deep racking – this type of racking can be used for the storage of two-deep racking, so there is no need for an aisle. It does require the use of specialist equipment in the form of extendable forks and the adjustment of aisles so that they are relatively wide
  • Narrow-aisle racking – this type of racking makes use of APR and provides sufficient storage for a high quantity of pallets through reduction of the aisle width to around 1.6 metres. There is the requirement for a particularly flat floor, particularly if the racks are any higher than 10 metres
  • Pallet flow/live storage – pallet flow racking is driven by gravity and is ideally suited to the integration of fast moving products for first in first out rotation. It involves the loading of pallets from high sloping lanes. The goods are pulled down by the gravitational force upon heavy-duty skate wheels
  • Push back racking – these systems rely upon the placement of pallet loads on nesting cards which are then propelled forward via the gravitational force on steel rails. Pallets which are loaded from the front force the pallets behind them back in position
  • Mobile racking – this is a good option where floor space is particularly expensive. The racks can be reduced in size, allowing for movement on rollers. It is then only necessary to have to one aisle as the operator doesn’t have to move between the units for creation of a path to a specific bay. However, this does result in floor space being maximised at the cost of reduced load-retrieval speed.

These factors should be considered with regards to the selection of storage methods:

The need for random access

The quantity of stock per line

The throughput per line

The possibility of pallet stacking

The potential use of pallet converters

The required stack height.

It might be necessary to store some goods and materials away from your main business site. The reasons for this may include insufficient space or concerns about the level of risk posed by such goods and materials. It will be particularly important to take care over the selection of a suitable storage provider for the assurance of security. There should also be some consideration of fire risks. Continuous surveillance and security guarding may be arranged for high-value goods.

Identifying potential routes

It is expected that you will conduct inspections of routes to ensure that there aren’t any trip hazards. You should consider whether the object will fit through openings such as doors. There shouldn’t be any obstacles which will prevent the successful relocation of the load, and the route should be sufficiently lit.

The following criteria should apply to routes for manual handling:

Ensure the route is as short as possible

Make repeated trips rather than demanding ones

Ensure the route is clear of obstructions

Consider stabilising any load that may suddenly shift

Check floor surfaces for trip and fall risks

Avoid stairs, steps, or sudden changes in floor level

Consider the need for precise positioning

Build in intermediate resting points if necessary

Always maintain a safe lifting posture.


These rules should also be applied in relation to the work environment:

  • Make sure you have sufficient space
  • Have a look at the route in advance to ensure the space available is clear throughout
  • Maintain good levels of housekeeping
  • Ensure provision has been made for doors to be opened and held – ensure fire doors are immediately closed once the lift is complete
  • Check floors for uneven surfaces
  • Check and clear any spills or leaks that have occurred
  • Avoid manual handling on slopes
  • If slopes cannot be avoided, consider alternative risk reduction measures, i.e. reduced load weight.

Source: “Manual handling module” RDHS:

1.3 – Effect of load relocation on original load base is predicted

By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:

  • Identify and account for the effects that the relocation of a load may have on the original load base
  • Identify and account for factors that will have a bearing on the indentation of load deflection.

Predicting the effect of the load relocation

The load may be a particular type of material, animal or thing, and its movement may require the use of lifting equipment. It is fairly common for loads to have permanent and/or semi-permanent fixed or attached points for lifting and movement. The actual movement of the load is quite likely to have some impact upon the original load base. If it is a particularly heavy load, then it may leave a distinctive indentation in the ground. However, the original load base may be “recovered” or spring back to some extent upon removal of the load.

Examples of loads include:

Loose bulk materials

Sacks, bags, pallets, and stillage’s

Discrete items (such as a large concrete block)

Machinery and any permanently attached lifting eyes

A skip and the lugs fixed to its side.

Source: “Lifting Operations And Lifting Equipment” Oshwiki:

There may be a piling up or sinking in of the material that the load is made from. Metal loads are quite likely to pile up and form some sort of “crater” in the ground. Coloured marks and scratches may also be left in the place where the load was originally located.

There should be some consideration of the impact upon those items at the base or bottom of a collection. They should be strong enough and of the appropriate type to ensure the support of loads directly above.

It is quite common to use pallets in the relocation of loads. The standard variety weighs one tonne, is wooden, and is suitable for repeat use. It will be important for you to have a sound understanding of the total load and packaging requirements in relation to storage upon such pallets.

Considering the indentation load deflection

The indentation load deflection is a measure of firmness and is considered in relation to the base upon which a load is placed. The higher the level of deflection the more firm the base will be. You should be aware that there will be some variation in the amount of pressure exerted upon the base depending upon the type and weight of the load. Other factors that will have some bearing on the indentation load deflection include the material thickness, temperature, and humidity.

1.4 – Points of balance are estimated

By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:

  • Follow the appropriate procedure when placing a load upon a vehicle, accounting for the points of balance
  • Identify and account for relevant factors with regards to the estimation of points of balance specific to loads for relocation.

Estimating points of balance

The point of balance, which may also be referred to as the centre of balance, is that point at which a particular item is balanced in relation to the forces acting upon it. It may also be referred to as the equal distribution of weight when a load is resting on a particular spot. The distribution of the load refers to the spread of its weight across a particular area. Ideally, the weight of the load will be equally and economically distributed. If the load base is large enough then the load can be particularly big and aggressive. However, there will be a fair chance of the load becoming unstable if the base is particularly small or fragile. It is expected that any employees who are required to engage in manual handling activities will be informed of the weight of the load. They should also be told of the centre of gravity, where this is not located centrally in relation to the load.

It will be important to consider the points of balance when adding loads to vehicles for relocation. Light items should be positioned at the front and heavier goods towards the back or over the axles. You should also ensure that the heavy goods are located at the centre of the vehicle, with lighter items on the outside. If you fail to take such measures, then there will be a relatively high risk of accidents and loads being shifted or falling from the moving vehicle.

There should also be some consideration of points of balance with regards to the relocation of loads within a warehouse. You should account for the size, shape, contents, and distribution of weight specific to such loads. The consideration of such factors should allow you to estimate the points of balance with relative ease and accuracy.

Considering the centre of gravity

Gravity may have a variety of effects upon the load in question. Such effects may depend upon the shape and size of the particular load. The mass, or material that the load is made from, will be concentrated upon a point referred to as the centre of gravity. The location of the centre of gravity will have a direct relationship with the balance of the load. If the load is supported at the distinct point of the centre of gravity, then it will remain stable. However, a slight shift in the support will cause the load to immediately become unstable. The lower the centre of gravity is to the ground the greater the chance that the load will remain balanced when upright.

A lever and pivot may be used for the movement of loads which are too heavy to be moved independently. The use of such a system will allow for a distinct increase in the amount of force that can be applied. The fulcrum refers to the support which is placed directly underneath the bar. Adjustments in the loads which are placed on either end of the bar will cause a fluctuation in balance. According to the calculations of Archimedes, the lever will be balanced when the product of the effort force and length of the effort arm equals the product of the resistance force and length of the resistance arm. Less force will be required to lift a relatively heavy load if the length of the effort arm is extended and the effort is exerted accordingly.

The lever can be used to lift extremely heavy objects, provided that the balancing bar is of a sufficient length. An example of the lever and pivot system may be considered in relation to a person who weighs 150lb, or 68kg. This person could use a lever measuring 10 metres long to lift a load weighing 2.5 tons.

1.5 – Required clearances are compared to available space and adjustments are made to moving loads to reflect required clearance

By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:

  • Identify and account for factors which have a bearing on the level of space required for the successful relocation of a load
  • Consider relevant areas in relation to the relocation of loads
  • Make appropriate adjustments to loads as reflection of the required clearance with regards to workplace routes.

Comparing required clearances

The required clearance refers to the amount of space which must be left free around a particular item so that it can be relocated safely and efficiently. The first factor that should be taken into consideration is the nature of the load that you are moving. In particular, you should consider the height and width of the load. The higher and wider the load the greater the amount of clearance will need to be in the area through which it is being moved. It might be necessary to make modifications, either to the load or space through which it is being relocated.

It is expected that you will plan for the relocation of loads, considering the levels of clearance specific to areas through which such loads are being moved. This will require you to establish where the loads need to be moved. A floor plan will ideally be sketched highlighting the amounts of space within different rooms. It will also be necessary to establish the dimensions of the loads for the correct calculation of required clearances.

The following areas should be considered with regards to the relocation of loads:

  • Order of unloading – the order in which pallets/goods should be removed, from first to last
  • The number of orders that the load consists of and the items that aren’t part of the pallet
  • The size and shape of the goods in comparison with the available space.

There are a number of modifications that may be made to the working environment for the creation of space required for safe and efficient movement of the load. As an example, you could remove the door stop moulding, allowing for an increase in the doorway clearance space. Alternative options for the creation of more space include the removal of light fixtures and different types of furniture which would otherwise be obstacles to the relocation.

You should proceed to consider the types of load modifications which could be made in consideration of required clearances. It might be possible to fold some items so that they take up less space and are relatively easy to move. There may be the option of detaching parts of the load and transferring them to the designated area in an orderly manner. This will also have the effect of making the loads lighter, so that they don’t require as much effort to move.

1.6 – Effects of moving contents, which may be loose, liquid, dangerous or hazardous, are considered

By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:

  • Identify risk factors associated with the relocation of loads
  • Identify health effects of exposure to harmful substances
  • Identify negative scenarios associated with the handling of loads including dangerous contents
  • Identify health effects of exposure to hazardous chemicals.

Considering effects of moving contents

It is quite likely that the producers of different types of goods will be able to provide information about the risks associated with movement. Such risks may be indicated on labels and/or safety data sheets. It would also be worth consulting those employees who have some experience and understanding of the risks. There will be a relatively high probability of damage to muscles and joints associated with the movement of some loads. These risks are associated with physical activities such as stacking/unstacking, packing products, and handling containers.

The following types of loads may have to be moved:

Irregularly shaped

Packaged or unpackaged

Labelled or unlabelled

Palleted or unpalleted.

Risk factors associated with the movement of loads include:

Workplace layout

Type, weight, and position of the load

The regularity of load movements

Repetitive actions

Distance corresponding to the movement of the load

Slips and trips

Availability of time for movement of the load.

Loose and liquid contents

Particular care should be taken over the movement of goods with loose or liquid contents due to their movement and changing centre of gravity. Loose and liquid contents are relatively likely to move about during the course of transporting the loads.

Such instability and movement may result in uneven loading of the muscles. If the load has to be moved suddenly, then there will be a considerable risk of losing balance and falling over.

These methods may be used in order to secure loose and liquid items:

  • Fixing slings and other attachments for increased control and stability
  • Maintaining the stability of contents in partly-filled packages through the use of baffles, dividers, and packing materials
  • Securing loads that are likely to move about during manual handling activities.

You may be required to move substances which are hazardous due to their chemical or biological properties. The health effects of exposure will depend upon the type of substance and the level of exposure. There are risks associated with inhalation, splashing of the eyes/skin, and swallowing. It might be necessary to limit the quantity of substances that are moved in order to minimise the risks of harm.

The following substances may have to be moved:


Caustic substances





Petroleum products


The health effects may include:


Nausea and vomiting


Skin rashes, such as dermatitis

Chemical burns

Birth defects

Disorders of the lung, kidney or liver

Nervous system disorders.

Dangerous contents

Dangerous loads are all those that have explosive, flammable, toxic, infectious, or corrosive properties. Loads may also be considered dangerous if they are awkward, have to be carried for at least part of the time above the head, and require repetitive movements. The transportation of loads including dangerous contents is associated with risks to personal health, safety, property, and the environment. The types of negative scenarios associated with the handling of such goods include poisoning, blowing people up, burning, and corrosion. Dangerous goods including explosives, high consequence dangerous goods, and asbestos are associated with particular risks which are addressed in relevant legislation. Safety precautions may have to be adopted for the minimisation of risks associated with the transportation of dangerous goods.

The Australian Dangerous Goods Code provides the following classifications:

  • Class 1 Explosive substances and articles
  • Class 2 Gases
  • Class 3 Flammable liquids
  • Class 4.1 Flammable solids, self-reactive substances and solid desensitized explosives
  • Class 4.2 Substances liable to spontaneous combustion
  • Class 4.3 Substances which, in contact with water, emit flammable and/or toxic gases
  • Class 5.1 Oxidizing substances
  • Class 5.2 Organic peroxides
  • Class 6.1 Toxic substances
  • Class 6.2 Infectious substances
  • Class 7 Radioactive material
  • Class 8 Corrosive substances
  • Class 9 Miscellaneous dangerous substances and articles.

Hazardous contents

There are a wide range of goods which may be considered hazardous to move. Exposure to chemicals may result in a variety of short and long term health effects including poisoning, skin rashes, and kidney disorders. Hazardous items come in varieties such as gas, powder, liquid, solid, and dust. Hazardous materials, or HAZMAT, are substances, solids, liquids, and gases which can harm people, other living creatures, property, and the environment. They are typically subject to chemical regulations.

Categories and types of hazardous loads include:



Flammable liquids

Flammable solids, spontaneously combustibles, water reactivates

Oxidizers and organic peroxides

Poisonous material

Radioactive material

Corrosive material

Environmentally hazardous material.

Source: “Workplace safety – hazardous substances” Better Health:

1.7 – Risks in potential routes are considered

By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:

  • Consider relevant risks in relation to routes for the relocation of goods.

Considering risks in potential routes

As previously mentioned, you will be expected to conduct inspections of routes and ensure that they are as safe as possible for the relocation of loads. Risks along the potential routes should be considered and minimised to the greatest possible extent.

Risks in potential routes may include:

  • Obstacles which can be tripped over, resulting in personal injury
  • Steep slopes and rough surfaces which increase the amount of physical effort required for the movement of loads
  • Insufficient lighting which will mean that the workers have trouble navigating the route
  • Wet floor surfaces associated with the risk of slips
  • Lack of space resulting in the workers having to adopt awkward postures
  • Environmental factors including temperature, lighting, and air currents associated with manual handling risks
  • Confined spaces and narrow passage/doorways which are difficult to navigate and associated with the risks of trapping/abrasion.



1.8 – Risks to self are identified arising from the required lifting, load carrying, set down or movement of the goods

By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:

  • Identify issues associated with musculoskeletal problems which may be experienced as a result of engagement in manual handling activities
  • Identify scenarios relating to the movement of loads when the risks to self will be particularly high
  • Collect relevant types of information in manual handling risk assessments
  • Identify risk factors associated with different types of manual handling activities.

Identifying risks to self

“Risk” refers to the probability that something will happen and is normally associated with the occurrence of negative events. Within the context of manual handling, this term is generally referred to in terms of the probability that injury will occur. You should be aware that there are risks associated with all manual handling activities, particularly those involving the movement of heavy goods. Other factors which have a bearing on the levels of risk include the frequency with which items have to be picked up or carried, the distance of relocation, twisting, bending, and the adoption of awkward postures.

Each of the specified risk factors are known to be associated with the development of musculoskeletal problems. Such problems include injuries, physical damage and deterioration of the joints which may occur as the result of continued engagement in manual handling activities. The damage of nerves may present movement of different parts of the body. Injury to the musculoskeletal system might occur as a trauma (a single event) or as a chronic injury (occurring over a long period of time). A trauma may occur through a sudden twist in posture, and a chronic injury may be experienced in repeated stresses such as bending across workbenches in manual tasks.

Issues associated with musculoskeletal problems include:

Pain and aches







These factors are known to have a bearing on the risk of musculoskeletal problems:

  • Age – older workers are likely to have reduced flexibility and strength. Their spinal bones may be relatively fragile. However, young workers may also be at risk due to their low level of manual handling experience and eagerness to prove themselves within the workplace
  • Stature – the mechanics of the spine are such that there is 10lb of additional strain upon the abdomen for every 1lb of excess weight carried
  • Predisposition to injury – those who have experienced musculoskeletal problems in the past are at a relatively high risk of repeat injuries
  • Tiredness and fatigue – workers who are tired are not alert will recover at a relatively slow pace and will be at an increased risk of cumulative stress. They are also likely to have relatively poor levels of concentration and a tendency to cut corners.

The physical effects may become increasingly noticeable over time as the musculoskeletal system deteriorates. Physical injuries may result in continuous pain or permanent disability. Risk factors such as the size, weight, and stability of the load should be taken into account. The nature of the working environment, availability of space, and stability of flooring will also have some bearing. Employers are expected to undertake risk assessments and ensure that workers are safeguarded against the established risks.

According to WorkSafe Australia, just 20% of workplace injuries occur as a result of sudden causes such as:

Slips, trips, and falls

Sudden unexpected heavy loads

One-off occurrences.

However, 80% of workplace injuries occur as a result of accumulative causes such as:

Repetitive bending and twisting

Poor work postures

Repetition, duration, and frequency.

Risk assessments should be carried out for the purpose of establishing the types of hazards associated with manual handling activities and the respective levels of risk that they pose. It is expected that you will conduct risk assessments in advance of all manual handling activities.

Identifying hazards

The first step that you should take in relation to the identification of risks to the self is to establish the types of hazards present in the working environment and associated with manual handling tasks. You should refer to reports of hazards, incidents, and injuries. This should allow you to establish the location and regularity of events resulting in injury.

It will be impossible to eliminate and minimise the impacts of hazards associated with manual handling unless you know that such hazards exist. It is for this reason that you should collaborate with the workers expected to engage in manual handling activities in the performance of a job hazard analysis (JHA). The primary purpose of such an analysis will be to establish the range of workplace hazards and identify steps which can be taken for the assurance of workplace safety.

The four steps that should be followed when conducting a JHA are:

  • Select a job to be analysed
  • Establish the steps which must be followed for completion of the job
  • Identify the hazards associated with each step
  • Control the respective hazards.

The types of jobs that should be focussed upon include:

  • Those with the highest injury or illness rates
  • Those with the potential to cause severe or disabling injuries or illnesses
  • Those where severe accidents or injuries may occur as a result of basic human errors
  • Those that are new to the operation and are associated with a change of processes and procedures
  • Those which are complex enough that they require written instructions.

The process of analysis may be conducted as follows:

  • Identify jobs associated with the highest levels of risk with regards to workplace injury or illness
  • Select experienced employees who are willing to be observed
  • Identify and record the respective steps which must be completed as part of the task
  • Identify all actual or potential safety and health hazards associated with the different tasks, considering the following risk factors:
    • force
    • repetition
    • awkward and static postures
    • contact stress
  • Establish appropriate ways of addressing the identified hazards.

Risk assessment tools

Risk assessment tools can be used by your employer to ensure a thorough risk management process takes place. These help to identify risks through focussing attention on the specific areas in relation to your organisation.

Risk assessment tools include:



Scales of danger


These tools can be used to pose predetermined questions regarding the danger of the activity. Specific forms can be universal or applicable to particular types of task. These forms are available from government websites and/or from your organisation. The relevant workplace forms will provide more specific and relevant details of activities.

Rating scales give the task a value that determines the level of risk or danger to staff. You should know what level of danger to expect and attempt to reduce the associated risks, where possible.

The risks to self will be particularly high when moving loads:

  • Downstairs
  • Over uneven surfaces
  • Alone
  • Containing chemicals or liquids
  • Including dangerous or hazardous substances or materials
  • In narrow or confined spaces.

It is expected that you will carry out a thorough inspection of the working environment and watch the staff members performing manual handling tasks for the further identification of hazards and associated risks.

Information obtained through the specified methods may be organised under the following headings:

Tasks performed

Age and sex of workers


Geographical location

Type of injury

Any other relevant information.

Once you have established the full range of workplace hazards, it is expected that you will conduct a thorough risk assessment. You may begin this process by plotting the established hazards within a risk assessment matrix. The risks of manual handling should be considered in terms of individual capabilities, the types of loads requiring relocation, environmental conditions, and provided training.

Here is a risk assessment matrix template that could be adapted for your purposes:

The treatment of risks should be prioritised in accordance with their placement in the risk assessment matrix. Considerations in relation to the risk of manual handling activities may include the nature of loads, forces, actions, postures, and characteristics of individuals carrying out the work.

The risk assessment should account for the following factors in accordance with the National Standard for manual handling:

  • Actions and movements
  • Workplace and workstation layout
  • Working posture and position
  • Duration and frequency of manual handling
  • Location of loads and distances moved
  • Weights and forces
  • Characteristics of loads and equipment
  • Work organisation/environment
  • Skills and experience
  • Age
  • Clothing
  • Special needs (temporary or permanent); and
  • Any other factors considered relevant by the employer, the employees or their representative(s) on health and safety issues.

Source: “Manual handling national standard” Safe Work Australia:

Manual handling diagram

This diagram highlights the expected vertical and horizontal positioning of the hands in relation to the lifting and carrying of loads of different weights. The specified weights are considered appropriate for a man (or woman) in good physical health. There will be a reduction in the lifting and lowering capability if the load is held at arm’s length or above shoulder height.

There will be a significant risk of dropping loads which are either particularly heavy or have no grips to hold on to. This may result in a variety of physical injuries including breakages of toes and other areas of the foot. There will also be a relatively high risk of damaging the goods.

These factors will also have a bearing on the levels of individual risk:

  • Experience, training, and familiarity with the job (for example, new episodes of low back pain are common in the first year of employment)
  • Age (the risk of low back disorders increases with the number of years at work: the first episode of low back pain occurs in most people by the age of 30)
  • Physical dimensions and capacity (length, weight, strength, etc.)
  • Personal lifestyle (smoking may, for example, increase the risk of low back disorders)
  • History of back disorders (this is a predictor of future back injuries)
  • Willingness to use personal protective equipment (for example, clothing and footwear).

Source: ”Hazards and Risks Associated With Manual Handling in the Workplace” E-Facts:

Accessed on 23/04/2019.

The risk of back injuries will be relatively high if the load is:

Too heavy

Too big

Difficult to grasp

Unbalanced, unstable, or containing loose contents

Difficult to reach.

The risk of back injuries will be relatively high if the manual handling task is:

Too strenuous

Involving awkward postures or movements

The risk of back injuries will be relatively high if the environment is:

Limited in terms of space

Slippery, uneven, or unstable

Insufficiently lit


 You may categorise the levels of frequency, severity, and potential as follows:

1.9 – Manual handling procedures for lifting, lowering and carrying, pushing and pulling are identified

By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:

  • Perform manual handling activities which involve following procedures specific to the lifting, carrying, and lowering of loads
  • Perform manual handling activities which involve the transfer of loads to appropriate items of equipment
  • Follow relevant safety procedures when pulling loads.

Following manual handling procedures

Manual handling activities should be conducted within best and preferred work zones for the assurance of personal safety. Any tasks which are conducted outside these zones will result in the adoption of non-neutral postures and increased risk of injury.

Manual handling tasks should be conducted in the best work zone as follows:

As far forward as your wrist when you hold your arm slightly bent

As wide as the shoulders

Upper level at about heart height

Lower level at about waist height.

Manual handling tasks should be conducted in the preferred work zone as follows:

As far forward as your hand when you hold your arm out straight

A foot on either side of the shoulders

Upper level at shoulder height

Lower level at tip of fingers with hands held at the side.

Source: “Guidelines for retail grocery stores” United States Department of Labour:

There should be some consideration of the need for assistance with regards to manual handling activities which involve lifting, lowering, carrying, pushing, and pulling. The need for such assistance may depend upon a variety of factors including the weight and size of the load, the proximity of the load to the ground, the necessary height of lifting, and the length of the carrying distance. The arrangement of assistance may involve calling upon a colleague or using a particular type of manual handling equipment.

A floor or pallet jack may be used for the purpose of minimising the level of risk associated with the movement of loads. You should push the load away from you rather than pull it towards you to ensure that you are in the least physical danger. However, you will need to ensure that the route is clear and that you are provided with appropriate guidance if the load has to be pulled towards you.

These safety procedures should be followed when lifting a load:

  • Stop and think, considering the level of risk in the environment and personal capabilities (you shouldn’t be forced to lift loads if you believe that you don’t have the necessary strength or flexibility)
  • Adopt a good posture, keeping the feet apart and at an angle. Soften the knees and maintain straightness of the back
  • Take a grip of the load, keeping the shoulders level and eyes directly ahead. Maintain bodily relaxation and don’t tense up
  • Begin to lift the load, keeping your arms within the physical boundary formed by the legs. Use the legs to generate upward movement, keeping the back straight, and smoothly lifting the load
  • Maintain control of the load, keeping it close to your body, and maintaining the grip.

These safety procedures should be followed when carrying a load:

  • Move the feet slowly and avoid twisting the trunk of the body
  • Maintain environmental awareness, accounting for any dangers
  • Be prepared to stop and put the load down if you sense any tiredness or fatigue.

These safety procedures should be followed when lowering a load:

  • Maintain a naturally straight back posture
  • Keep the head up and eyes forward
  • Use the legs as a pivot and allow them to take the weight of the load
  • Slowly and smoothly lower the load to the floor, maintaining the weight on the legs
  • Release the load and assume a standing position
  • Obey the “fingers and toes” rule, ensuring that the fingers and toes of all staff members are out of the proximity in which the load is to be placed.

There are various types of equipment that can be used for the transfer of loads to new locations. Examples include the pallet truck, two-wheel truck, and platform trolley.  You should have a good understanding of how such equipment operates and ensure that such tasks are carried out to the best of your abilities. It is typically expected that you will push such equipment for effective movement of the load. Assistance may be required in order to safely transfer the load onto the equipment in preparation for moving. It will also be necessary to ensure that the equipment is easily accessible.

These safety procedures should be followed when pushing equipment carrying a load:

  • Take a firm grip on the handles
  • Take the weight of the load and lean forward slightly, keeping a natural posture
  • Use the legs for forwards projection in a controlled manner
  • Maintain a steady speed in the relocation of the load
  • Stop smoothly at the drop-off point, maintaining the safety and stability of the load
  • Take care for the assurance of safety in unloading.

You should ensure that any manual handling equipment used for the relocation of loads is returned to the correct storage area. This will mean that the equipment doesn’t pose a hazard and staff members won’t be tempted to carry out manual handling tasks independently because they are unable to locate the equipment.

Pulling is the least preferred option of load relocation and should only be adopted if other methods are entirely unsuitable. However, you will inevitably encounter situations where the pulling of loads is necessary. If this is the case, then you should take care, working at a reasonable pace and not doing anything which puts your body under unnecessary physical strain.

These safety procedures should be followed when pulling a load:

  • Maintain a straight back and take a firm grip of the trolley or pallet handle
  • Use the power from your legs to move the pallet slowly and smoothly towards the designated area of relocation
  • Stop and reassess the situation if there is any discomfort during the relocation process.

1.10 – Team lifting processes are considered when moving loads

By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:

  • Engage in team lifting process for relevant reasons
  • Pair up with colleagues for the movement of loads within the workplace, ensuring that relevant team handling procedures are followed and steps are taken for the assurance of team safety.

Considering team lifting processes

If the use of practical loads isn’t practicable and there is risk associated with the independent movement of a load, then you may be reliant on the assistance of colleagues. It will be important for you to account for the risks associated with the team-based approach and ensure that the personnel are coordinated appropriately.

Team lifting processes may be required because a load is:

Too heavy

A difficult or long shape

Not suitable for machine lifting.

It is generally advisable to have one person engaged in manual handling for every 50 pounds of the corresponding load. However, the weight of the load doesn’t directly correspond to the number of staff members expected to engage in manual handling activities. As an example, if one individual enlisted the assistance of a colleague, then the corresponding load may only be increased by two-thirds of their combined individual capabilities. Staff members who engage in team lifting should be roughly the same strength and size. There should also be equal distribution of the load in relation to the manual handling process.

One of the individuals engaged in the team lifting process should be assigned responsibility as a leader. They will be expected to take particular care and ensure that relevant procedures are followed. There should be some agreement regarding the terms which can be used for the guidance of those individuals involved in team-based lifting processes. The types of commands that may be given include “lift”, “walk”, “stop”, and “down”. There should also be a count, such as 3, 2, 1, lift or ready, steady, lift. Team members should know the appropriate means of response. Ideally, there will be the opportunity to practice team lifting processes to ensure their efficiency before carrying out actual manual handling tasks.

These steps should be taken when lifting and carrying long objects as a team:

  • Use a shoulder pad to reduce compression
  • Carry load on the same shoulder
  • Walk in step.

These steps should be taken when lifting and carrying furniture as a team:

  • Use straps
  • Adjust the length of the straps according to your height
  • Use webbing around straps to stop them from slipping off
  • Obtain assistance while loading a heavy object on the truck
  • Use your body weight to tilt the object
  • Place the lip of the truck under the object
  • Tip the truck back with assistance
  • Move off. The assisting person directs the movement.

Source: “MMH – team handling” CCOHS:

You should be aware that the following issues are associated with the team manual handling process:

  • Poor communication – this may result in confusion between the people engaged in the team manual handling process
  • Poor co-ordination – this may result in difficulty associated with the lifting/movement of loads
  • Individual disparity – there may be differences between the statures and physical capabilities of staff in the team manual handling process
  • Awkward areas – the area in which the manual handling process is taking place may become particularly cramped if there are too many workers.

The following steps should be taken in the team lifting process:

  • Take a balanced stance with your feet about shoulder-width apart. (It is okay to put one foot behind the object and the other next to it.) Communicate that you are ready
  • Squat down but keep your heels off the floor (on the balls of your feet). Get as close as you can to the object
  • Use your palms and not just your fingers to get a secure grip on the object. Make sure that this grip will hold and you will not have to switch your grip later
  • Lift slowly (without jerking) using your leg, abdominal, and buttock muscles while keeping the load as close as possible to you. Maintain communication with the helper
  • Once you are standing “do not twist” when you change directions. Point your feet in the direction you want to go and then turn your whole body. Do not twist with the object while you are walking
  • To lower the load or place the object, use these same guidelines in reverse. Communicate until the lift is over.

Source: “Tips for team lifting” Safety Services Company:

These steps should be taken for the assurance of team safety:

Plan the lift and discuss it with your team members

Estimate if the team is big enough

Pick a team of similar size so that the lifting will be balanced

Use machinery to assist with the lifting if you need to

Have one person direct the team lifting.

You can watch examples of team lifting operations at and

1.11 – Appropriate personal protective equipment is determined

By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:

  • Identify and make appropriate use of items of personal protective equipment in relation to manual handling activities
  • Identify and fulfil responsibilities with regards to the appropriate selection and use of personal protective equipment for manual handling activities.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

PPE is designed to protect you/your body from exposure to hazards. This acts as a barrier between you and the hazard. When conducting manual tasks, you will need to identify and use the correct PPE. Your organisation should use a designated storage area to keep appropriate PPE for manual tasks. This should be covered in your initial induction or role training.

This may include:

  • Gloves – there are different types of gloves that can be worn for protection of the hands during manual handling operations. The appropriate choice of gloves will depend on the characteristics of the loads that you are moving. As an example, you might wear waterproof gloves for the prevention of exposure to liquids and subsequent dermatitis
  • Safety headwear and footwear – Safety helmets should be worn wherever there is a risk of falling objects colliding with the head. You must also ensure that any safety footwear is in good condition and that it features reinforced toe caps for the protection of the feet from falling objects
  • Safety glasses – you must ensure that safety glasses are appropriate given the nature of the task or activity for protection of the eyes
  • Two-way radios – these radio devices may be used for the purpose of maintaining contact with colleagues during manual handling operations. Contact may be made regarding the need for assistance or incidents which may occur in the movement of loads
  • High visibility clothing – it will be particularly important to wear high-visibility clothing when there is a risk of being hit by moving equipment, machinery, or traffic.

Whilst PPE is a useful way to protect the safety of the person using it, it is generally advised only to implement the use of PPE in the case when there are no other practical measures in place – i.e., as a last resort.

Check your PPE is fit for purpose

All PPE should fit the wearer, be used appropriately, and be in serviceable condition. It should be made available to employees and provide effective protection for the purpose at hand. Equipment must be maintained and cleaned after use, and should be stored hygienically for the next time it is used; this is a requirement for WHS compliance.

Employees should be made aware of the protection provided by using PPE. If the PPE becomes damaged, it should be replaced to ensure that risk to workers is correctly controlled. There also needs to be ample items of PPE for all employees to use, this is to cover any damaged or worn items that need to be replaced.

It is your employer’s responsibility to ensure that:

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) is used properly in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions
  • PPE fits correctly and is reasonably comfortable for the worker who is to use or wear it
  • PPE does not interfere with any medical conditions of the worker using the PPE
  • Workers are instructed and trained in how to use, maintain, and store the PPE
  • Appropriate signs are used to remind workers where PPE must be worn
  • Periodic assessments are carried out to ensure PPE is used properly and is effective.

Whilst your employer has a responsibility to provide you will suitable and effective PPE, you also have an obligation to use it correctly, in the way intended, to ensure your own safety and the safety of those around you.

It is your responsibility to:

  • Use or wear the PPE in accordance with any information, training, or instructions provided
  • Not intentionally misuse or cause damage to the PPE
  • Advise managers, or the relevant person(s), of any damage, defect, or need to clean or decontaminate any PPE
  • Consult with your manager if the PPE is uncomfortable or does not fit properly.

Source “Personal protective equipment” Safe Work Australia:

1.12 – Size to weight ratio of items to be manually handled are identified

By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:

  • Establish the size and weight of different loads through reference to the packaging, paperwork, use of industrial scales or other methods
  • Compare the size and weight of loads in the form of simplified ratios.

Calculating load size

The size of a load should be considered in terms of its dimensions. You are advised to calculate such dimensions in terms of feet and inches. They should be calculated and given in the order of length, width, and then height. It is expected that you will provide the dimensions in a consistent format relative to the established weight of the load. So dimensions provided in feet and inches should be compared with weights in the imperial form.

You will need to multiply the dimensions by each other in order to establish the size of a particular load. As an example, you might have a box which measures 30 cm in length, 20 cm in width, and 15 cm in height. You would then multiply 30 by 20 and then by 15 in order to establish the total size of the item. This will give you the figure of 9,000. You may also convert this into inches, giving you a final figure of 3543.

Calculating load weight

There are a number of methods which can be used in order to find out the weight of the load. In the first instance, you should inspect the load to see whether the weight has been marked by the manufacturer. The weight of the load may also have been specified on paperwork which has been provided by the supplier. Alternatively, you may establish the weight of the load through the use of an industrial floor scale within a production area or shipping and receiving department.

The weight of the load may also be indicated in the following places:

  • Manufacturer’s paperwork
  • Information on the manufacturer or distributor’s website
  • Product specifications in a catalogue or product brochure.

If you are unable to locate the weight of the load in the specified places, then calculation will be necessary. The first step will be to establish the volume of the load. You can do this by multiplying the length by the width by the height of the load. You should then proceed to multiply the weight (which may be in terms of a metric such as weight per cubic foot) by the volume.

As an example, you may consider the calculation of a box measuring five feet long by four feet wide, and four feet tall.

The volume in this instance can be calculated as follows:

  • Volume = 5 feet x 4 feet x 4 feet
  • So the volume is 80 cubic feet.

You may be aware that the box has a weight per cubic foot of 120lb.

Based on this you may perform the following calculation:

  • Load weight = 80 cubic feet x 120 lb per cubic feet
  • So the total load weight is 9,600 lbs (or 4.35 tonnes).

Identifying the size to weight ratio

The size to weight ratio of loads won’t always be obvious. It is quite possible that the smallest loads will also be relatively heavy. Items which are pre-packaged for relocation and that the weight specified on the corresponding boxes or packaging. It is also quite common for boxes containing particularly heavy goods to have ‘heavy’ labels upon them. However, you should be aware that this isn’t always the case. If you require clarification regarding the weight of a particular load, then you will have the options of inspecting the packaging, checking the paperwork, or performing a trial lift with due care and attention.

If you are able to accurately establish the size and weight of a load, then the process of working out the corresponding ratio will be relatively easy. Such a ratio may be written out in words or numerical terms. You should begin the calculation of a ratio by reducing and simplifying the quantities. This will involve dividing all of the terms in the ratio by the common factors that they share. As an example, you might have a load with an established size of 5,000 cm2 and a weight of 100 lb. Both of these figures have a common factor of 4. If you divide the 5,000 by 4, then you end up with a figure of 1,250. If you divide 100 by 4, then you end up with a figure of 25. The size to weight ratio in this instance can be expressed a 1,250:25. Alternatively, you could apply the common factor of 50, giving you a size to weight ratio of 100:2.