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Manual Handling and Ergonimcs

by | May 6, 2015

I struggle with the negative responses I get from so many business owners that Work Health and Safety is just too hard. We just don’t have time; it’s a cost to our business; we cannot afford it; and the list goes on.

I want to share with you an example of Work Health and Safety at its best that happened on our property six months ago. We have recently moved to a two acre property where the grounds have been nelected. We had three mammoth gum trees that needed to come down as a matter or urgency; one that had split and was hanging over our home, another that was split and hanging over the concrete water tanks, and one that was dead and could seriously damage two adjoining properties if it fell.

To have these removed, I wanted to know that the company I hired was going to do this safely and not compromise our home, our only water supply, our well-being (as we were in our home), and of course their well being. After a couple of phone clls to the neighbours and key questions answered, such as, ‘have you used them’, ‘did you think safety was a major factor in the way they did things’, ‘how did they leave the job when they finished’, and ‘would you use them again’. We now had a company that we also wanted to work with.

A couple of days later, we had the business owner on our site and his knowledge and approach to our situation was professional and supportive. He outlined what equipment he would be using for each tee, how long it would take and how many guys he would have on site. He asked us what our expectations were on completion of the job. Of course we hired his company.

From the moment they arrived I knew I had hired a professional company. They had all the right equipment and it was in excellent condition, they all had the correct PPE, and team work and communication was constant. Taking down trees required skill woth alot of manual handling. Manual handling can be broken into eight categories, to which I saw them doing throughout the day:

Awkward postures

Sustained postures

Carrying

Lifting

Pushing

Repetitive movement

Puilling

Holding

I observed them breaking their day up so that the work was rotated between each team member, no one person doing the same task all day. Being hot and heavy work, they drank plenty of water and had breaks to replenish and nourish their bodies. As they moved from tree to tree that took care of their housekeeping; mulching smaller limbs as they went, stacking the wood and cleaning the area. At the end of the day they then cleaned all of their equipment and put it away in the designated spots in their trucks. The only reminder I have of them being here are stacks of wood ready to be moved to the wood heap that will sustain us now for a couple of cold Victoria winters.

Why have I chosen to use this as my article for a window manufactur’s article?

The reality is that your approach to safety should be no different to theirs. Each person in the company had to take on the responsibility of each and every task that was required to keep the job flowing without the unnecessary interruptions, such as poor housekeeping or tripping over equipment. By using the correct equipment for the task and correct ergonomic/manual handling techniques, they all took ownership for their well-being and that of their team mates, and also us, as their customer.

There is an art and science for reducing problems that might arise from interaction between people, equipment and the environment. There has to be a single focus for business owners for improving the lives of the working population. We must remember that the strength of any business is its people.

One of the major issues I have observed in the window industry is ergonomic and manual handling. It is only with your workforce participating in risk assessments, hazard identification and training that these will improve. By taking a more scientific approach to your ergonomics will you improve your workforce performance?

Back Problem Statistics

Manual handling is the main cause of workplace injury

Eithyu per cent of Australians suffer back injuuries requiring medical attention.

Thirty per cent of all industrial injuries involve the back.

Back injuries are often the result of years of abuse.

In addition to missed work, there may be a lifetime of pin.

It’s easy for business owners to get stuck in a rut as they grow accustomed to everyday routines. It is also easy for your ergonomics process to stall as you get ‘paralysis by analysis’. When you recognise that you are stalled, the answer is easy: Get out in the workplace, work with a small team and make a change. You’ll be surprised at how this will breate life into your process and begin to drive you toweard the success you seek.

We are here to assist you deliver practical solutions that impact safety, quality and productivity. At Maureen Kyne & Associates, we belive people make productivity happen.

Maureen Kyne

Director

About

Maureen Kyne

Maureen is a leading authority in workplace bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination. With qualifications and a career spanning nursing, manufacturing, construction, transport, HR, IR & WHS she brings wide-ranging experiences.

Having lived and worked in both regional towns and capital cities, Maureen understands the economic and workplace pressures faced across diverse environments from harvesting sheds in farming communities to metropolitan corporate boardrooms.

Maureen presents with a warm demeanour and easy conversational style yet is fearless in raising the issues most prefer to avoid. Whether wearing a prevention, detection or correction bullying hat, Maureen knows how to peel back the layers and get to the root cause of the toughest and most complex situations.

Respect drives change and as a confidante and training facilitator Maureen will do what it takes to save lives and build better futures.

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