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Manual Handling: Improving the review and revision of manual handling risk control measures

Tips for improving the review and revision of risk controls for manual handling after an incident.

Date: October 1, 2016
Keycode: WSV1756/01/10.16
Publication type: Information About
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Description

Tips for improving the review and revision of risk controls for manual handling, including hazardous manual handling, after an incident.

Manual Handling: Improving the review and revision of manual handling risk control measures

Guidance for employers about how to improve the approach to review and revision of risk control measures to prevent musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

Common issues in reviewing and revising risk control measures

Risk controls must be reviewed and revised (if necessary) after a report of a MSD, as it may be evidence the risk controls do not adequately control the risk and need to be revised. For more information about when to review and revise risk controls related to MSDs, see Information about Manual Handling: review and revision of risk control measures.

After a report of an injury, hazard or near miss, it can be difficult to differentiate between investigating the specific incident and reviewing the risk controls. An incident investigation tends to focus on what went wrong in the particular case with a focus on the person, where a review and revision of risk controls should be focused on the controls and what needs to go right for the task to be done safely.  

Steps

Incident investigation

Review and revision of risk control measures

1

Commonly start with a focus on the things that have gone 'wrong' in 'the incident'

Start with the risk control measures in place – what is required for things to go 'right' in the work

2

Often easy to find a person who has not followed a formal rule or procedure

Review all risk control measures rather than starting with the incident and the person

3

Once a person is found to have done 'something wrong' it is often the end of any serious enquiry

Review the risk control measures against the current state of knowledge

4

Risk control changes usually directed to ensure that 'the incident' doesn't happen again and  often results in more training, retraining, or more supervision

Review the risk control measures for what is reasonably practicable and effective at the workplace;

Implement the new or modified risk control measures

 

How to change the focus of from 'the person' to a focus on 'the controls':

Employers may already be conducting some type of 'incident investigation' or 'near miss/hazard' report, such as:

  • recording the incident in an injury register (an injury register may have a section to outline the 'contributing factors' and a section on 'actions to prevent reoccurrence')
  • undertaking a separate hazard/near miss/incident/accident investigation process.

 

These processes can be different to a review and revision of risk controls. Employers should ensure their process for reviewing and revising (if necessary) risk controls includes the following steps:Effectiveness and reliability of controls

  • list all the risk control measures (not just what went wrong)
  • review the current state of knowledge for the task, hazard or risk, and risk controls
  • review the risk controls for what is reasonably practicable and effective in the workplace, and chose the best risk control in accordance with the hierarchy of risk control (figure 1)
  • determine implementation times for new/modified risk control measures.
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Further information

Contact the WorkSafe Victoria Advisory Service on 1800 136 089 or go to worksafe.vic.gov.au to download:

 

Note: This guidance material has been prepared using the best information available to WorkSafe, and should be used for general use only. Any information about legislative obligations or responsibilities included in this material is only applicable to the circumstances described in the material. You should always check the legislation referred to in this material and make your own judgement about what action you may need to take to ensure you have complied with the law. Accordingly, WorkSafe cannot be held responsible and extends no warranties as to the suitability of the information for your specific circumstances; or actions taken by third parties as a result of information contained in the guidance material.

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