The Repercussions of Poor Manual Handling

Tasks that involve carrying, pulling, pushing, lifting and other maneuvers are usually inevitable at work. Even though machines help, they can only do too much and sometimes, workers have to use their own strength.

However, if manual handling is not done correctly, it can result in the gradual deterioration of both mental and physical health. Training on ideal manual handling at the workplace is imperative. Our bodies have exceptional capabilities, but they are also fragile. Just like machines, they are going to become faulty and can break down after extended misuse. When you get worn down physically, your mental state is ideally affected.

In this read, we are going to look at the consequences of poor manual handling. These consequences can be categorized into three: short-term or superficial injuries, mental health issues, and long-term injuries.

1. Superficial or Short-Term Injuries

Examples in this category include bruises, cuts, sprains, muscle strain, tears, etc. These are usually caused by meager and little-unexpected accidents like dropping a load, falling while moving a load, lifting an exceptionally heavy load.

2. Long-Term Injuries

This primarily involves damage to the musculoskeletal system including joints, tendons, muscles, nerves, ligaments as well as blood vessels. These injuries are often caused by gradual wear and tear in the long-term as a result of repetitive strenuous tasks. These are ideally known as musculoskeletal disorders.

3. Mental Health Issues

Anxiety, depression, and stress are great examples of mental health issues as a result of improper manual handling. This is also more often than not, a result of dealing with long-term injuries that have hard-to-manage symptoms.

Physical ailments are easier to diagnose than mental problems related to poor manual handling. However, we should not overlook the fact that musculoskeletal disorders can have a severe knock-off effect. They can result in poor mental health because of the anxiety and stress triggered by the issues.

This is why it is important to learn how to prevent the development of physical and mental issues that are caused by poor manual handling practices.

Let is a delve further into the major consequence- musculoskeletal disorders.

Chances are you or someone you know has experienced problems in the upper or lower limb, upper or lower back or even the neck. Long-term injuries and disorders are also referred to as musculoskeletal disorder and back pains are the most common of the bunch.

Most of the work-related musculoskeletal disorders are as a result of band manual handling practices, especially tasks that involve:

-Turning, twisting and bending the neck, back, and the entire torso.

-Hefty or awkward loads, either animate like animals or inanimate like tools and boxes.

-Hard to reach regions that call for stretching.

-Working in an environment with unstable flooring.

You might think that your body is tough enough to handle the strain of having to adopt awkward positions, but not even the strongest are built for misuse. Eventually, your body will wear down.

Here are some of the symptoms of these disorders. They range from mildly uncomfortable to quite disabling:

-Limited movement


-Widespread or localized pain

-Dull aches


-Stiffness or aching of the entire body

-Disturbed sleep

-Burning or twitching muscles

-The sensation or overworked or pulled muscles

Manual Handling | BacksafeMost of these musculoskeletal symptoms are hard to manage and make the regular day to day tasks a challenge. This is especially true if you have to limit or stop work activities. It can completely change your life, particularly because these disorders are usually long-term conditions that have laborious and slow recovery processes.

Fortunately, these disorders take a long time to develop. Straining your back over longer periods repeatedly is what will put your body at risk and not the occasional body strength overestimation.

On the contrary, since developing these disorders takes the repeated strain, it is hard to notice the damage you are sustaining until it is too late. As such, engaging in proper manual handling practice to prevent risk is essential.

This extensive list of weakening symptoms related to musculoskeletal disorders shows how bad manual handling can have severe long-term effects as well as how imperative it is to make a conscious effort to practice ideal manual handling techniques in the workplace.