Key points

  • Workers must be trained in correct. techniques for manual handling jobs.
  • No one should lift something that is too heavy for them.
  • Lift with the legs, not the back.
  • (Re)design the workplace to minimise manual handling risks.
  • Use mechanical/lifting aids where possible.
  • Plan regular breaks and rotate jobs.
Download fact sheet

This information sheet identifies the dangers and risks from manual handling in farming and offers recommendations to help avoid accidents and injuries. They will help you comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA).

Farm workers do a wide variety of manual handling tasks. They involve forceful efforts, repetitive movements, stooping, static and awkward postures, continual bending, twisting at the waist and handling heavy objects.

Manual handling can harm your musculoskeletal system (your bones and muscles) slowly, so the injury gets worse over time (a chronic injury). Manual handling accidents can also cause immediately-felt (acute) injuries, like cuts or broken bones.

See the guides

Accepted Good Practice

Train workers how to use plant, objects, substances, equipment, and relevant PPE safely. In general, farmers need to give new workers an induction – show them around the farm and tell them about risks and safety procedures and identify what skills, knowledge or competencies workers need to complete each task.

The Law

The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) is New Zealand’s work health and safety law. The Act requires that a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) must ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers. The duties of a PCBU apply to all work activities and places work is carried out on a farm.