Avoiding manual handling injuries

Take the TILE approach to exam room setup, to make sure you finish the day injury free.

Tuesday, 24 October 2023 at 10:00 pm
A woman smiling as a person off camera hands her a heavy box.

If you help set up desks for exams, support a student with personal care or move equipment around as part of your role, we have some tips to help you avoid injury.

Before you or your colleagues next begin any manual handling task, use the TILE approach to assess the situation and work out the best way of proceeding. 

The TILE approach

Manual handling tasks involve four key components: Task, Individual, Load and Environment (TILE). 

The TILE approach proactively assesses these 4 issues before performing the task. 


What is the job or activity? How often does it need to be done? How long will it take? 

For example: staff are asked to arrange tables for student exams twice a year. It may take a couple of hours to set up, depending on staff availability. 


Who is doing the task? Do they have training? Are they physically able to undertake the task? Do they have any previous or existing injuries that might impact them? Is there equipment to help them? 

For example: staff must complete the Manual Handling eLearn before lifting or moving tables. If they have pre-existing injuries or conditions, they should not undertake the task. It should be delegated to another trained staff member with assistive equipment such as a trolley. 


Is what the person is moving heavy, large or awkward? Is it unstable or hard to grab? Can it be moved easily or does it require mechanical aids? 

For example: large and awkward equipment like desks can be difficult to move by one person, with two people required to move and position it easily and safely. Using trollies may prevent risk of injury.


Where does the task take place? Are there trip hazards? Is there enough lighting? 

For example: the task may take place in an open room like a gym or physical education area. Trip hazards such as sporting equipment should be safely stored to prevent falls and adequate light level free of glares and reflections is required to avoid awkward and sustained postures. 

You can find detailed information about the TILE approach in our updated Manual Handling policy and procedure. Risk assessment templates are also available for health and safety tasks that may be higher risk or require a more detailed, thorough assessment.  

More advice on safe manual handling

If you need a refresh on how to safely approach manual handling tasks, along with the TILE approach, access the updated Manual Handling eLearn module via My LearnEd (login required).

Find out more 

For more information, refer to the Manual Handling policy and procedure

For any other Victorian Government school OHS enquiries, contact the OHS Advisory Service