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Participative ergonomics in the health care industry

The Participative Ergonomics for Manual Tasks (PErforM) program helped Centacare Community Services reduce injury risks for its employees doing manual work. PErforM gave insight into the risks posed by the physically demanding and repetitive nature of cleaning.

Centacare tailored the program to suit its needs, developing materials to workshop with staff. During the workshops, Centacare workers and work health and safety practitioners identified control measures, including alternative equipment more suited to the tasks performed.

One of the suggestions was to use microfibre equipment to replace traditional cotton string mops, which were heavy and left surfaces wet, requiring a second dry mop over the area. The equipment identified as most suitable included a telescopic microfibre mop and bucket, telescopic bath scrubber and a bed maker tool.

Centacare management was consulted on the suggested control measures and agreed to trial the equipment in one of its six regions. Read about the great results Centacare achieved, not only in reduced incidents and injuries (and associated savings), but also staff satisfaction and reported reductions in body discomfort.

Based on these results, the Centacare leadership team agreed to purchase the equipment identified for all disability supported living accommodations. Centacare is also considering an opt-in initiative for aged care clients to select the preferred equipment to be purchased for their homes, which will benefit clients, as well as Centacare employees.

Further information

Information about the PErforM program, getting started and a suite of resources is at worksafe.qld.gov.au