A manual task is any activity that requires a person to use force to grasp, manipulate, strike, throw, carry, move, hold or restrain an object, load or body part.

This can be as simple as using a keyboard and mouse, and as complex as pipetting or using specialised machinery.

Performing manual tasks is common for all staff, but manual tasks can become hazardous when you're exposed to:

  • repetitive or sustained force
  • high or sudden force
  • repetitive movement
  • sustained or awkward posture
  • exposure to vibration.

Exposure to hazardous manual tasks over days, weeks or months can contribute to musculoskeletal injury. This includes pains, strains or injury to your:

  • back
  • neck
  • shoulders
  • arms
  • wrists.

For more information regarding manual task health and safety, contact the Ergonomics and Rehabilitation Officer.

Preventing injury while performing manual tasks

See risk assessments for more information on how to assess the risks involved in performing common manual tasks, and identify the control measures you can take to minimise your risk of injury.

You should also review the Manual Tasks Risk Management Procedures and Guidelines [2.50.01].

WorkSafe Queensland provides additional comprehensive information on manual task-related injury and how to avoid it.

Depending on your role, you may be required to complete training related to manual tasks such as using hand tools or operating machinery. You should discuss training requirements with your supervisor. You can also refer to relevant training and induction requirements for more information.