Do you need to comply?

Yes – under the provisions of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (Vic).

Conditions of compliance

The primary objective of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (Vic) is to protect people at work against musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) caused by manual handling.

Manual handling is much more than lifting or lowering an object. It also includes restraining, pulling, carrying, holding, throwing and activities involving sustained (awkward) posture, repetitive actions and use of equipment or tools that have a vibration component.

‘Musculoskeletal disorder’ means an injury, illness or disease that arises in whole or in part from manual handling in the workplace, whether occurring suddenly or over a prolonged period of time, but does not include an injury, illness or disease which is caused by crushing, entrapment or cut resulting primarily from the mechanical operation of plant.

If you have to comply, what do you have to do?

To comply with the requirements of the Manual Handling Regulations, your school must undertake the following actions:

  • Identify all manual handling activities in the school
  • Identify and assess the relevant risk factors to determine if a hazardous manual handling activity
  • Assess hazardous manual handling activity whenever new information or reports of MSD occurs
  • Control the risk using the hierarchy of controls
  • Review effectiveness of the risk controls.


  • The hazard identification, risk assessment and control process should be undertaken in conjunction with affected staff and Health & Safety Representative (HSR).
  • Each step in the process must be documented.

Some manual handling risks commonly found in schools:

  • moving furniture
  • carrying computers/televisions
  • pushing a trolley
  • lifting a ladder
  • restraining a frightened child
  • typing school reports using a notebook computer in an awkward posture
  • repetitive PC operation in administration
  • carrying books and resources around the school
  • stretching to reach a high shelf
  • separating fighting students
  • lifting high jump mats and other PE equipment
  • standing on a table and/or chair to pin up students’ work
  • bending to a bottom shelf to reach a carton
  • carrying large slabs of soft drink
  • lifting 25 litre containers of cleaning chemicals with one hand
  • moving rocks, digging etc at a gardening bee
  • bending over for extended periods to be at the same height as students
  • in special settings, lifting, changing, supporting and catching (dropping) children.
What are the consequences if you don’t comply?

You could be penalised under breaches of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic).

ISV contacts

Peter Roberts
Director, School Services
Ph. 03 9825 7211

Kieren Noonan
Head of Innovation
Ph. 03 9825 7275

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