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The Most Effective Manual Handling Training Jul 5th, 2014
Employers are required to provide manual handling information and training, and where relevant this should be supplemented with more specific training on manual handling injury risks and prevention (Work Safe Australia, 2011). Manual handling training and its effectiveness often depends on a multitude of factors such as method of teaching, organization setting and type of training technique that is used. However, concerns have been raised over the efficacy of current manual handling training methods (Dawson et al, 2007).

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The above study systematically reviews the literature to determine the effectiveness of manual handling training interventions. Current manual handling training practices appear largely ineffective in reducing injury. Furthermore, there is considerable evidence supporting the idea that the principles learnt during training are not applied in the working environment.

The lack of effectiveness of technique- or educational based training is widely acknowledged; (i) people tend to revert to previous habits if training is not reinforced; (ii) emergency situations, the unusual case, a sudden quick movement, increased body weight or reduced physical well-being may overly strain the body and (iii) if job requirements are stressful, behaviour modification will not eliminate risk.

What has shown promise is strength and flexibility training based on industry specific ergonomic principles and task analysis (i.e. a regular exercise program including activities that replicate worksite tasks) (Dawson et al, 2007; Clemes et al, 2010). Manual handling training is generally given over a very short time; as a result, the “training” is really more of an information session. When training is specific to the task and dispensed over a longer timeframe, a decrease in back loading and back injuries is possible (Schibye et al., 2003).

As there is strong evidence of an association of occupational injury occurrence and certain personal and non-occupational risk factors. In industry, effective injury reduction programs should go beyond traditional methods of job-related ergonomic risk factors and include personal factors such as smoking, weight control, and alcohol abuse (Craig et al, 2006). More general whole body physical fitness and strength also has greater benefits in terms of reducing manual handling when combined with specific training alone

At Central West Health and Rehabilitation our Small Business Injury Management Service includes gym membership and ‘task specific’ conditioning sessions to assist you and your employees to improve manual handling and reduce injury risk.

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