Four steps to manage hazardous manual task risks in workplace

Risk management is a four-step process for controlling exposure to health and safety risks associated with hazards in the workplace.

Examples of common hazards which can lead to musculoskeletal disorders (MSD)

How to find hazards:

Once a risk has been identified, a risk assessment should be conducted.

A risk assessment involves examining the characteristics of the hazardous manual task to assess whether the forces, movements and postures undertaken by the worker increase their risk of MSD.

You should carry out a risk assessment for any manual tasks identified as being hazardous, unless the risk is well known and you know how to control it. A risk assessment can help you determine, which postures, movements and forces of the task pose a risk, where during the task they pose a risk, why they are occurring and what needs to be fixed.

Ask the following questions to determine risk factors:

For assistance, refer to the Hazardous manual tasks risk management worksheet.

The ways of controlling risks are ranked from the highest level of protection and reliability to the lowest, which is known as the hierarchy of control. You must always aim to eliminate the hazard, which is the most effective control.

Note: training in lifting techniques must not be the sole or primary means to control the risk of MSDs.

Control measures that have been implemented must be reviewed, and, if necessary, revised to make sure they work as planned and to maintain a work environment that is without risks to health and safety.

You should review control measures:

Keep records of the risk management process to both demonstrate compliance with the Work Health and Safety Act and regulations, and easily review risks for training, procedures, and following any changes to legislation or business activities.

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