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Managing hazardous manual tasks using the PErforM program

Halliburton shared their experiences of their risk management program evolution at the PErforM network meeting on 8 May 2014.

PErforM is a simple manual task risk management program, created by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and WorkCover Queensland, based on participative ergonomics, an internationally recommended approach for reducing musculoskeletal disorders.

PErforM provides a framework to help employers engage with workers at all levels to identify, assess and control manual tasks risks within their workplace. The idea of PErforM is that the worker is the expert in performing their work tasks.

The quarterly network meetings are designed to create a forum for open discussion about different aspects of the PErforM program, and feature real case studies from members of the group.

Kim Schultz, HSE Technical Professional and Justin Bellum, HSE Coordinator, both from Halliburton, presented the workplace health and safety strategies they developed for the Australian part of their business.

Halliburton is a global company with 16 operational bases in Australia and Oceania and is well known in the oil and gas industry. Their Queensland work sites include Brisbane, Chinchilla, Dingo, Moranbah and Roma.

Kim and Justin have focused on building an understanding with their people of the risks involved in the manual tasks they are carrying out and have moved away from 'one size fits all' training.

In developing their risk assessment program, they discovered they had to address some of the common misconceptions about what a hazardous manual task actually is. Previously, they had mainly identified ergonomic and lifting risks. The program empowered employees to use a risk assessment tool to identify other types of risks.

Halliburton's improvements to their health and safety program also consisted of:

  • video presentations in training
  • taking photos of people performing tasks to be able to see risks more clearly
  • breaking training down into smaller groups
  • looking at how to modify existing equipment to make it more ergonomic and user friendly
  • re-arranging an entire warehouse with ergonomics in mind.

Kim said that a change of culture was necessary to foster improvements to Halliburton's workplace health and safety program.

“It's about getting all employees to take ownership of identifying and managing risk,” Kim said.

“It helps to take the time to explain why a health and safety program is important and show employees how to assess and report risk.”

The next PErforM network meeting will be held in August. Membership to the network is free and open to anyone involved in implementing PErforM.

Read more information about the PErforM program.