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Manual Tasks Risk Management Master Class

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I had the pleasure of attending Ergo Enterprises Manual Tasks Risk Management Master Class held in Brisbane on 27 March 2015.

This master class reinforced that injuries occur when forces on the body are greater than the body can tolerate. The sudden onset of gradual onset of injury due to an accumulation of micro damage and often a combination of both mechanisms was discussed.

One of the most interesting points raised by Mr Gary Dennis during this master class was that we have spent much of our efforts performing risk assessments and less effort applying appropriate manual handling controls to eliminate or minimise risk.

Much work needs to be done to work collaboratively with workers to ensure that risks are not only identified but they are eliminated where possible and that controls are designed in collaboration with the people who perform the task and those affected by the task.

The effectiveness of controls was reinforced. We often perform risk assessments at the outset and then fail to risk assess the control measure implemented to evaluate the effectiveness of the control and to ensure that the control does not of itself introduce further risk.

Gary Dennis and Robin Burgess-Limerick have developed a simple pictorial risk assessment tool. The Ergo Analyst manual task risk assessment tool specifically looks at exertion, exposure, posture and movement and determines risk levels based on the physical hazards associated with the task.

The tool enables various body parts such as shoulders, arms, legs and back to be assessed with use of the tool. The tool is linked to software that enables a pictorial view of the potential effects of the manual tasks on the body.

The pictorial representations of the body are colour-coded into green, yellow, orange and red. The yellow, orange and red risk levels identify higher levels of risk. An analysis with this tool before controls implemented and post the implementation of controls or the planned implementation of controls can demonstrate the effectiveness of the controls.

The overall outcome of this workshop was that risk assessments should be part of the control and that risk reduction must be done to reduce the risk of injury and maintain and improve productivity.

Participative ergonomics ensures that controls are well thought through and accepted by those performing the work task.

Further information regarding the Ergo Analyst Risk Assessment can be directed towards Robin Burgess-Limerick or Gary Dennis on LinkedIn or Ergo Enterprises.

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