Improving Workplace Manual Handling Training Programs


Tyson Beach & Tilak Dutta

Key messages

  • Meta-analyses consistently report that manual handling training is ineffective, but they do not consider training quality
  • High-quality manual handling training combines theory and best evidence from kinesiology and implementation science to develop worker health, physical fitness and capacity; this helps control hazards, reduce risks and improve performance
  • When manual handling training programs are high-quality, there is support for their use, especially when manual handling is physically demanding and unavoidable

Implications for the prevention of MSD

Manual handling training programs should:

  • be designed, delivered and progressed to meet needs and wants of stakeholders
  • promote and support health-, fitness- and performance-enhancing behaviours (esp. physical exercise)
  • offer realistic and sufficient amounts of practice to develop and preserve the skills and competencies of workers to:
    • identify and interpret hazards and risks in diverse work situations; and
    • adapt work (ergonomics) and bodily movements (kinesiology) to control health hazards and risks and improve performance on-the-job
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Link to CRE-MSD Position Paper