Help sought on hazardous manual tasks

HAVE you identified hazardous manual handling tasks in your workplace or been involved in the design, construction, commissioning or maintenance of any equipment, plant, work surfaces, work practices or systems that have made manual tasks less hazardous?

THE Health Management Branch at Resources Safety — a division of the WA Department of Consumer and Employment Protection — wants to hear about hazardous manual tasks identified in the workplace.

The organisation also wants to hear about and any innovative solutions implemented that have made manual tasks less hazardous.

Overexertion or strenuous movements have consistently been the most common type of accident in the Western Australian mining industry, representing almost one third of all accidents, according to Resources Safety.

These types of accidents predominately occur from employees undertaking hazardous manual tasks.

Most of the injuries resulting from these accidents are musculoskeletal disorders of the trunk or back, arms and legs.

The Australian Safety and Compensation Council (ASCC) reported that, between July 1997 and June 2003, workplace injuries related to manual tasks resulted in 437,852 compensation claims in Australia.

This figure represents 416% of all compensation claims for that period.

The direct cost, not counting indirect impacts (including long-term impacts on the quality of life of the injured worker) was $11965 billion.

In collaboration, Resources Safety and the New South Wales and Queensland occupational health and safety regulatory agencies are currently undertaking separate projects aimed at reducing musculoskeletal disorders from performing manual tasks within the mining industry.

The first stage of this project is to identify hazardous manual tasks that result in injury to mining industry employees.

Once hazardous manual tasks are identified, the aim is to identify and publicise solutions to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders.

As part of the identification process, an analysis of the accident and injury data is currently underway Consultation with mining industry stakeholders will add to the findings of the statistical review.

Key contact:

Lindy Nield

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