Your questions answered: What manual handling training do disability support workers need?

By Portner Press on July 12th, 2019
  1. Work Health & Safety Act
  2. Workplace health & safety regulations

Please could you tell me the basic requirements needed for disability support workers to commence working with us in in regards to manual handling training with customers? Our organisation is based in Queensland.
From a work health and safety perspective, under the applicable harmonised work, health and safety legislation, a person conducting a business or undertaking has a general duty to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers and other persons in the workplace. This includes ensuring, so far as reasonably practicable:

  1. the provision and maintenance of a work environment without risks to health and safety; and
  2. the provision and maintenance of safe plant and structures; and
  3. the provision and maintenance of safe systems of work; and
  4. the safe use, handling and storage of plant, structures and substances; and
  5. the provision of adequate facilities for the welfare at work of workers in carrying out work for the business or undertaking, including ensuring access to those facilities; and
  6. the provision of any information, training, instruction or supervision that is necessary to protect all persons from risks to their health and safety arising from work carried out as part of the conduct of the business or undertaking; and
  7. that the health of workers and the conditions at the workplace are monitored for the purpose of preventing illness or injury of workers arising from the conduct of the business or undertaking.

Codes of practice provide practical guidance on how a duty holder may comply with their health and safety duties.  We also note that from 1 July 2018 persons conducting a business or undertaking are required to comply with an approved code of practice under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. Alternatively duty holders can follow another method, such as a technical or an industry standard, to manage hazards and risks, as long as it provides an equivalent or higher standard of work health and safety to the standard required in the code.

The Hazardous Manual Tasks Code of Practice 2011 is an approved code of practice which deals with the risks of manual tasks, such as manual handling.  A copy of the code is accessible here.  This may assist you with your duties in respect of manual handling for workers.

There may also be separate obligations for your business as a disability service provider, in particular under the National Disability Insurance Scheme. It is beyond the scope of the Helpdesk service to provide advice regarding your obligations under the NDIS. However, we note there is an NDIS code of practice for service providers, a copy of which is accessible here.

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