Wednesday 01 June 2016

Manual handling innovations in awards spotlight

Organisations that have created new ways to prevent injuries caused by manual handling are being encouraged to share their innovations by entering the 2016 WorkSafe Victoria Awards.

Manual handling is Victoria’s most common cause of workplace injury, accounting for almost 40 per cent of all injuries reported to WorkSafe. Last year alone, more than 10,000 Victorian workers suffered injuries caused by poor or awkward manual handling.

To highlight the issue, WorkSafe has for the first time added “Best Solution to a Manual Handling Issue” to its award categories.

Finance Minister Robin Scott said he hoped as many organisations as possible would enter the new category.

“Thousands of workers suffer the debilitating effects of back strains and sprains, as well as muscle and ligament damage, caused by lifting heavy or awkward objects or lifting objects over and over again. This is a great opportunity to acknowledge innovative ways of making workplaces safer" Mr Scott said.

“Many businesses are coming up with innovative ways to reduce these types of injuries and by entering the WorkSafe Awards their innovations can be shared with a much wider audience. This could save thousands of Victorians from ever suffering the same pain.”

WorkSafe Chief Executive Clare Amies said it was important to recognise new solutions to an age-old issue that continued to affect all industries.

“Awkward or poor manual handling affects employees in every type of workplace – from retail assistants lifting and moving boxes of stock every day and construction workers using tools repetitively, to health care workers moving patients in and out of hospital beds,” Ms Amies said.

Ms Amies said there were two important reasons individuals and businesses passionate about improving workplace health and safety should enter the awards.

“Great health and safety stories inspire others to do more to make workplaces safer,” Ms Amies said. “By entering the awards, their ideas can be shared across their industry and with other workplaces across the state.  

“But, just as importantly, it gives WorkSafe the opportunity to recognise and honour the people and organisations that strive for excellence in health and safety, and who do their very best to help injured workers back to work as soon as it is safe to do so.”

The prestigious awards, now in their 28th year, have nine categories:

Health and Safety

Health and safety representative of the year

Health and safety invention of the year

Best solution to a specific workplace health and safety issue

Best solution to a manual handling issue

OHS Achievement

Commitment to workplace health and wellbeing

Return to Work

Employer excellence in return to work

Return to Work Coordinator excellence

Worker return to work achievement


Entries close on 30 June. Winners will be announced at a special awards ceremony during WorkSafe Health and Safety Month in October.

To enter the awards, or for more details, visit


Further Information

WorkSafe media enquiries: Peter Flaherty: 0478 881 663, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Caitlin Rode: 0434 685 577, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Public enquiries: Call the WorkSafe Advisory Service on 1800 136 089 between 8:30am and 5pm Monday to Friday, email or write to Advisory Service, PO Box 4306, Melbourne, 3001.