Hazardous Manual Tasks and Ergonomics

Hazardous Manual Tasks 

Many jobs involve carrying out some type of manual task using the body to move or hold objects, people, or animals. Manual tasks cover a wide range of activities including stacking shelves, repetitive work at a computer and working with laboratory equipment.

Some manual tasks are hazardous, where the task requires 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:


Application of Force



Exposure to Vibration








Prolonged use of a power tool

Operating certain types of plant and equipment and mobile plant

Operating certain hand tools

Operating vibrating machinery

Poor workstation setups may also result in a hazardous manual task. Refer to Workstations for further information and assistance.

To manage the risks associated with manual tasks, UNSW requires that:

  • new staff complete the online Ergonomic and Manual Tasks training (HSEEMT) and ongoing staff are required to complete the online Ergonomics Refresher training (HSEERF) every 3 years. If there are any queries concerning training requirements, contact UNSWTraining@unsw.edu.au
  • Supervisors/managers follow the requirements of HS432 Hazardous Manual Tasks Procedure which provides information on the risk management process for manual tasks


Reference: NSW Government – Hazardous Manual Tasks Code of Practice August 2019

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