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Split up heavy loads

In this activity participants view and discuss a Napo scene which looks at how the characteristics of the load can influence the impact of manual handling tasks on the body, and how the load could be changed to make work safer.

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Participants understand:

  • The importance of taking time to identify hazards associated with a particular manual handling task (w,m,s)
  • How the weight size, shape and position of a load can influence the impact of manual handling tasks on the body (w,m,s)
  • How to suggest improvements to working practices that reduce the potential for neck, wrist, shoulder and back pain (w,m,s)
  • Why they should apply this knowledge to all moving an handling tasks, both at work and out of work (w,m,s)

managers (m) supervisors (s) and workers (w)


Facilitator to introduce Napo, encouraging participants to identify the potential for MSDs. Facilitator to encourage participants to share their own experiences using the recommended questions from the following options

Questions to consider:

  • What health and safety issues does the film raise? Can you suggest any solutions? (w,m,s)
  • Do you recognise this type of task from your own working environment? (w)
  • How would you raise concerns and suggest improvements to this task to reduce the risks of MSDs? (w)
  • How do you encourage workers to raise concerns and suggest improvements to manual handling tasks? (m,s)
  • Can you influence suppliers to provide materials with weight and centre of balance clearly indicated on the packaging? (m,s)
  • Can you influence how materials are delivered and stored at point of use, to reduce the risk for MSDs? (m,s)
  • Can you explain the importance of taking the time to identify the hazards associated with manual handling tasks? (w,m,s)
  • Can you explain the added value of a team approach to assessing manual handling tasks and selecting control measures (w,m,s)
  • Participants can explain the short and long term benefits of assessing and controlling manual handling risks on a personal and organisational level (w,m,s)
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