Caring for babies
Caring for children
Health, hygiene and safety
Learning experiences and play
Legal and ethical issues
Manual handling overview
Manual Handling occurs when any person, animal or object is lifted or lowered, pushed or pulled, carried, moved, held, or restrained. Employers have a Duty of Care towards their employees. This means employers and employees are responsible for creating and maintain a safe work environment.
Child care assistants’ manual handling tasks
- assisting with fruit/lunch
- adjusting client sitting postures
- assisting a child to walk
- assisting with toileting
- transferring child from floor
- other kindergarten duties
- assisting child onto play equipment.
- Occupational Health and Safety Act 1985 - compulsory
- Manual Handling Regulations 1999 - compulsory
- Manual Handling Code of Practice 2000 - guidelines only.
OHS Act requirements
According to the Act, employers shall provide and maintain so far as is practicable for employees, a working environment that is safe and without risks to health.
- safe systems of work
- instruction, training and supervision
- consultation and cooperation
- personnel protection
- safe use of plant and substances
- reporting of incidents and accidents.
According to the code, employees must follow the rules below.
|Employees must||Employees shall not|
|Take reasonable care for his/her own safety and the health and safety of others affected by his/her acts or omissions.||Wilfully or recklessly interfere with or misuse anything provided for health and safety.|
|Cooperate with the employer with all reasonable instructions and procedures regarding health and safety.||Wilfully place any person at risk.|
|Report any situation that may constitute a hazard to health and safety.|
Manual Handling Code of Practice
A Code of Practice is not law, but it should be followed unless there is an alternative course of action that achieves the same or better standards.
Key aspects of the Code of Practice include the following.
- Spot the Hazard - hazard identification by hazard report or incident form
- Assess the Risk of Injury - manual handling risk assessment, including client mobility assessment
- Fix the Problem - Risk Control
- Follow Up / Evaluate.
Risk is the probability and possible consequence of injury and illness arising from exposure to a hazard.
Risk assessment involves an assessment of the level of risk of injury or illness associated with each of the identified hazards. A hazard is any situation with the potential to cause illness or injury.
Risk Assessment takes into account the following five factors.
- postures adopted
- movements made
- forces exerted
- environmental conditions
- duration and frequency.
It also considers:
- How severe would the injuries be?
- What is the probability of injury?
Hierarchy of control
The Hierarchy of Control is a list of control measures, in order of priority, which can be used to eliminate or minimise exposure to the hazard.
Follow up - Evaluation
- to check how effective the changes have been in reducing the risk
- to check that no new hazards have been introduced
- to check that employees are complying with the changes.
Injuries arising from Manual Handling
50% of all claims are Musculo Skeletal Disorders – MSDs. These include:
- muscle and joint injury to any part of body
- muscular and joint pain
- impact injuries
- physical tiredness.
Mechanisms of injury involve:
Sudden damage caused by unexpected movements, strenuous manual handling or awkward lifts.
Gradual wear and tear over time caused by frequent or prolonged periods of manual handling activity
Recommendations for safer work
- avoid a fully bent spine
- avoid lifting shortly after rising from bed
- avoid twisting
- avoid prolonged sitting
- consider rest break strategies
- pre-stress system even during light tasks (co-contract muscles).
The importance of exercise
Exercise is essential for maintaining a level of fitness so that the body can perform tasks safely and efficiently. If muscles are toned and flexible, then the body will be better prepared to cope with the physical demands of manual handling tasks. Muscles protect joints, so strong muscles and mobile joints, along with correct lifting techniques will minimise the possibility of injury.
Swimming, bushwalking, yoga, cycling and sporting activities will all help in maintaining flexibility of the body and in conjunction with an exercise routine, will maintain an appropriate fitness level.