This guiding principle is intended to ensure that any Damen employee has sufficient knowledge of safe practices for load movement, as well as adequate training and access to appropriate equipment so as to minimize the risk to their health and safety so far as reasonably practicable. It provides a process for identifying and controlling the risks associated with hazardous manual handling activities.


The major hazard associated with inappropriate manual handling is Musculoskeletal Disorder (MSD), also referred to as Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), Occupational Overuse Syndrome (OOS) and Cumulative Trauma Disorder (CTD). Such injuries are characterised by symptoms of discomfort or persistent pain in muscles, tendons and other soft tissues, with or without obvious visible symptoms (e.g. swelling).

Eye soreness and pain in the wrist and lower arm are common forms of MSD associated with office or ‘close work’ using small hand tools.

Another common form of MSD is injury to the spine or muscles, commonly the back. Such injuries may prevent a person from being able to conduct certain types of manual handling or render them susceptible to the same injury at a later stage. In severe cases, persons can suffer long term (or lifelong) debilitation.

Offices are not traditionally associated with manual handling risks; however, there are many heavy items such as computers and boxes of stationary or archive paper, which are heavy enough to present a potential risk when lifted. MSD described above is also associated with office work.


  • Do not lift more than 25kg without aid.
  • Optimize your workstation to minimize manual handling.
  • Persons performing manual lifts should be instructed to lift as safely as possible.
  • Use good hold points for a safe grip on the load.
  • Squat down, keep your back as straight as possible and stand up slowly, ovoid overreach and twisting.


Manual Handling means any activity requiring the use of force by a person to lift, push, pull, carry or restrain an object, person or animal.

Hazardous Manual Handling means manual handling activities that involve the following:

  • repetitive or sustained application of force;
  • repetitive or sustained awkward posture;
  • repetitive or sustained movement;
  • application of high force;
  • exposure to sustained vibration;
  • handling loads that are unstable, unbalanced or difficult to move.

Musculoskeletal Disorder (MSD) is an injury, illness, or disease that arises in whole or in part from manual handling tasks, whether suddenly or over a long period of time.

Risk means the likelihood or probability that a hazard may cause harm.

Risk Assessment means a process that seeks to identify hazards; then determine the level of risk by taking into account the likelihood that someone will be injured or something damaged by the hazard, the frequency or level of exposure to the hazard and the adequacy of any existing control measures.

Risk Control means the use of measures to control the risk to an acceptable level.

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Manual handling

Manual Handling