Getting a handle on manual handling – a guide for support workers

manual handling guide

If you’re providing Personal Care to clients, chances are you’ll be doing to be doing some manual handling. Helping a client into and out of bed, for example, can put you in awkward positions, increasing your risk of back injury. But interestingly, training people in lifting techniques is not effective in minimising the risk of injury. So, what can you do?

A far more effective way to minimise your risk of injury is to focus on assessing the risk and putting in place a control measure. For example, if you’re expected to help a client out of a chair, can you talk to her case worker or family member to arrange for a hoist? Or a pelican belt? We’ve provided a checklist for workers to show how you might want to go about this.

Once you’re signed up as an approved worker on Mable, our Support Worker guide will provide you with more detail about what you can do to ensure safe lifting. At a glance:

  • What to do before lifting – make sure the load is free to move and not too heavy. Plan where you are going to take the load. Get help if necessary.
  • Lifting safely – stand close to the load, be mindful of how you use your body and, where possible, always use assistive equipment.

The most important piece of advice is, only provide services you are qualified for and comfortable providing. If you are not specifically trained in manual handling, you should not be lifting and moving clients.

As part of the onboarding process, you can identify whether you are “Manual Handling Certified”, in which case you’ll need:

  • a Manual Handling Certificate
  • a transcript showing Manual Handling as a module as part of a Cert III or IV in Aged Care or Disability.
  • a competency assessment report including organisation name, name of person assessed, skills assessed and signature of the assessor.

If you’d like to brush up on your manual handling skills, this online training is aimed at healthcare workers and endorsed by the National Safety Council of Australia. Safe Work Australia also offers free workshops (NSW only).

There are other factors to consider to safeguard yourself from injury. These include posture, eating well, getting enough sleep and keeping an eye on how stressed you feel when you’re doing your job.

The safety of everyone in our community is a top priority for us. Importantly, when you are booked through the Mable platform, we arrange insurance on your behalf, which covers personal accidents.

Most importantly, if you have been asked to provide a service that you feel puts you and your clients at risk, talk it through with them. The great thing about Mable is that you’re connecting with your clients directly, so you can discuss any concerns with them person to person.

Interested in providing personal care and thinking of signing up? Register today!