Hazardous manual tasks are the most common cause of injury in NSW workplaces, accounting for nearly 30 per cent of all workplace injuries.
Every year, we see over 19,000 major musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) claims costing on average over $30,000 per claim.
Last year, we launched a six-year work health and safety strategy that set a target of reducing serious MSDs by 30 per cent. Following consultation with a variety of industry sectors, we subsequently developed and launched an MSD strategy that focuses on those at greatest risk, such as storepersons, social workers, government employees and the like.
If we can meet this 30 per cent target, it will see almost 8000 fewer workers receiving a serious MSD, saving NSW businesses in excess of $250 million.
The strategy highlights the impact that MSDs have in the workplace and identifies approaches to reduce their incidence and severity.
Consultation and communication are the foundation for the effective management of MSDs.
The essential ingredients for successfully managing MSDs in the workplace include embedding a work health and safety landscape to address risks that lead to MSDs; eliminating MSD hazards at the planning, purchasing and design stage; increasing the use of high level controls; ensuring effective reporting and compliance with legal responsibilities; and supporting injured workers to recover at work.
As an ideal starting point, we recommend the PErforM program– Participative Ergonomics for Manual Tasks. It is a simple, internationally recommended program that helps to effectively manage hazardous manual tasks.