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Ergonomics Risk Assessment Tools and Manual Handling Regulations in Austria

The material on this page is intended for Austrian employers and other parties interested in ergonomics, risk assessment tools and the rules and regulations for the manual handling of loads as they apply in Austria.

Finding quick overviews and easy-to-understand information on manual handling regulations online is not necessarily an easy task. Therefore we hope that with this page, we have made it easier for you to find what you need to know.

Here you will find:

  • A short introduction to the authority responsible for enforcing the rules of manual handling in Austria.
  • Links out to ergonomic guidelines and risk assessment tools for the manual handling of loads in Austria – those tools are specifically related to the tasks of lifting, holding and carrying.
  • Recommended weight limits for lifting in Austria.

The Authority Responsible for and Legislations Concerning Manual Handling in Austria

Just like what is the case in e.g. the UK, Austria too has a long standing tradition of establishing occupational health systems for protecting their workers. Thus when Austria joined the EU in 1995, they didn’t need to start from scratch and rework their whole legislative system to be able to comply with the EU regulations on health and safety.

EU membership seems to have primarily lead to further development and refinement of already existing regulations. (reference).

Austria’s long tradition in occupational health seems well-reflected in the large amount of online material available not only in German but also in English on laws, provisions and rules on occupational health in Austria.

The ‘Manual Handling Authority’ in Austria: The Labour Inspectorate

In Austria the main authority responsible for occupational safe and health is the Labour Inspectorate (die Arbeitsinspektion). The Labour Inspectorate forms part of the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection / Bundesministerium für Arbeit, Soziales, Gesundheit und Konsumentenschutz, who also acts as the Austrian EU-OSHA focal point.

The ‘Manual Handling Law’ in Austria: The Safety and Protection of Health at Work Act

The law relevant for occupational safety and health (and thus also for conditions in relation to manual handling) in Austria is the Safety and Protection of Health at Work Act (das ArbeitnehmerInnenschutzgesetz). The Labour Inspectorate (along with other bodies) is responsible for enforcing the Act along with the regulations pertaining to employees’ health and safety at work.

The Safety and Protection of Health at Work Act has incorporated the EU Framework Directive 89/391/EEC along with the individual EU directives, including Directive 90/269/EEC, which is also unofficially referred to as the ‘Manual Handling Directive’.

In the Safety and Protection of Health at Work Act in the section concerning manual handling, protective ergonomics risk assessment guidelines are stated in much the same way as in other EU countries.

It basically says that,

if and whenever manual handling is perceived to constitute a health risk, one must work towards avoiding the risk. If the risk can’t be avoided, the employer must take protective organizational measures or provide aids to the manual handling tasks.

Both in general and in relation to manual handling,

it is the responsibility of the employer to avoid risks, perform ergonomic risk assessments, eliminate and reduce risks and work to prevent risks from occurring. Employers are also obliged to inform their workers of risks and dangers and to suitably provide training when risks cannot be completely avoided.

AUVA and Free Support for Small Companies

The AUVA (Allgemeine Unfallversicherungsanstalt), the main statutory accident insurance provider in Austria)) offers free support for small companies with up to 50 employees via its Prevention Centres, AUVAsicher.

One of AUVA’s main focuses is the working with the prevention of work accidents and occupational illnesses.

Manual handling and the potential consequential health risks ensuing it (e.g. musculoskeletal-disorders, MSDs) is something that is currently a high political priority. In the Austrian Occupational Safety and Health Strategy 2013-2020 (Österreichische ArbeitnehmerInnenschutzstrategie 2013-2020) reducing the risk of “strains on the musculoskeletal system” along with an “improvement in risk assessment” are some of main focusses and goals.

Guidelines and Ergonomics Risk Assessment Tools for the Manual Handling of Loads in the Austria

To live up to the framework set in the Austrian Safety and Protection of Health at Work Act and as part of the Occupational Safety and Health Strategy, the Labour Inspectorate has developed some manual handling assessment tables (MAT) (Last-Handhabungstabellen (LHT)) with the purpose of creating ergonomics risk assessments for lifting, holding and carrying that are both easy and quick for employers to use.

You can find them here:
Last-Handhabungs-Tabellen (LHT) (PDF, 1,5 MB)

And a guide for how to use it here:
Leitfaden – Kurzbeurteilung von Heben, Halten und Tragen

How the Manual Handling Assessment Tables Work

In short, the manual handling assessment tables are divided in to two tables – for both tables there are some basic requirements that must be fulfilled e.g. the workers must be normally qualified, the load can be put down at any time, proper instruction and information is given etc.

  • A green table for normal/optimal conditions / “normal belastender Bereich”. The green table cannot be used if more than one of these following conditions are present: problematic body posture, problematic climatic conditions, sloping surfaces, staircases.
  • A yellow table for more ‘problematic’ conditions / “belastender Bereich”. The yellow table requires sufficient breaks from the manual handling activity, and cannot be used if more than one of the following conditions apply: problematic body posture, youth worker. The risk of overload is higher in the yellow table and the operation is only allowed if it cannot be carried out using the green table. The aim is to move over to the green table.

The main parameters required to in order to read the assessment sheet are:

  • The age (youth or adult) and sex of the worker.
  • The weight of the load.
  • The working conditions (normal or problematic)
  • The type of body posture (good or bad)

When you have orientated yourself in the tables according to those conditions, then you are told (per day):

  • How often you may lift the load (frequency)
  • For how long a time overall in minutes per day you may hold the load (duration)
  • For how long a distance in kilometres you may carry loads (distance)

Weight Limits for Manual Lifting in Austria

Manual handling: maximum weight limits for lifting in AustriaThe below weight limits are considered safe to lift, hold and/or carry under optimal conditions (reference):

  • 25 kg for men per load, cumulative mass 10 ton per day
  • 15 kg for women load, cumulative mass 7,5 ton per day

No ergonomic risk assessment is deemed required if all following conditions apply:

  • if the load is less than 3 kg for women or adolescents and 5 kg for men.
  • if the overall daily weight is less than 1,500 for men and women and less than 600 kg for youth workers.
  • if manual handling occurs less than 500 times for women and men and less 200 times for youth workers
  • if the duration of the work for men and women is less than 120 minutes and less than 60 minutes for youth workers.
  • if the distance for carrying is less than 8 km for men and women and less than 4 km for youth workers.

Guidelines for Pushing and Pulling in Austria

When it comes to guidelines for pushing and pulling in Austria the The Labour Inspectorate refers to the German BAuA (The Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health / Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin). BAuA has developed some Key Indicator Methods (risk assessment screening tools) (go here for the page in German), which also includes a Key Indicator Method for assessing and designing physical workloads with respect to manual Pushing and Pulling of loads (KIM-PP) (Erweiterte Leitmerkmal­methode zur Beurteilung und Gestaltung von Belastungen beim manuellen Ziehen und Schieben von Lasten (LMM-ZS-E).

Online Links Related to Manual Handling in Austria

Online links for manual handling regulations and ergonomics risk assessment tools for Austria.

Information Disclaimer

We have done our very best to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information presented on this page. However, we cannot guarantee the correctness of any information (regulations change from time to time, responsibilities change hands, etc.). Thus we cannot accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, completeness, legality, or reliability of the information provided here.

If, however, you are aware of any outdated or incorrect information on this page, you are very welcome to contact us, so we can bring our page up to date.

Other Pages on Manual Handling Regulations

Country Specific Pages with Ergonomic Guidelines and Risk Assessment Tools


Go to Ergonomics for an overview of rules and regulations worldwide.

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