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Lifting and moving items

Accessing storage rooms that have become junk rooms can create all sorts of hazards, especially when moving items out of the way to get to what you are after.


  • Use aids to lift heavy items.
  • Keep storage rooms neat and tidy.
  • Avoid twisting.

Potential harm

  • Musculoskeletal disorders

Identified hazards and controls

Musculoskeletal disorders


  • Muscle strains from twisting, bending, and over-reaching.
  • Carrying items that are too heavy.
  • Sudden movements or unstable loads, such as the bottom falling out of an archive box when lifted.

What workers can do

  • Know your personal capacity to lift objects. This will vary among people.
  • Avoid lifting items above your head and use equipment provided to avoid or reduce manual handling and awkward postures. For example, get a step ladder so you can get to the height you need to be.
  • Bend legs at the knees and keep the weight close to your centre of gravity when lifting.
  • Undertake training in the use of any equipment provided and follow relevant procedures.
  • Seek guidance from your supervisor before lifting for heavy or bulky items.

What employers can do

  • Provide equipment, such as trolleys and moving devices, to move heavy boxes long distances.
  • Provide a trolley that adapts to the weight - as weight is removed, the floor of the trolley raises to ensure the user doesn’t need to bend down low to reach items.
  • Ensure there are instructions on appropriate load weights and other relevant procedures.
  • Provide supervision including regular checks to see if procedures are being followed.

More information


  • See Ergonomic hazards for more information on physical factors in the environment that may cause musculoskeletal injuries and how to eliminate these hazards.



Page last reviewed: 01 March 2022

Comcare (Office Safety tool)
GPO Box 9905, Canberra, ACT 2601
1300 366 979 |

Date printed 02 Mar 2024