Four simple steps to help reduce manual handling injuries in tyre retailing

Male worker with blue overalls with 2 tyres

In Queensland, hazardous manual tasks account for a high proportion of claims across all industries. In the tyre retail industry, almost 60 percent of injury claims lodged this financial year were musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) or sprain and strain type injuries. These types of injuries are primarily caused by hazardous manual tasks. The number of new injury claims for MSDs has not markedly changed over the last five years.

Jane Stevens, Industry Manager at WorkCover Queensland said it’s not surprising that the tyre retail industry generates a high number of MSDs associated with manual handling.

‘Tyre fitting by nature can involve forceful exertions due to the weight of the tyres handled and awkward postures when bending and twisting to align the tyres. It’s understandable that since June 2014 we have seen more than 22 percent of claims involve back injuries,’ she said.

Hazardous manual tasks which have resulted in MSDs often involve the following tasks:

  • lifting tyres/throwing tyres from one level to mezzanine levels;
  • transferring tyres into/from racking;
  • lifting and lowering tyres onto wheel balancing machines;
  • moving tyres around the workshop; and
  • handling larger heavier tyres.

‘By identifying hazardous manual tasks and implementing controls, employers can prevent injuries from occurring. This means lower claims costs and lower premiums,’ Jane said.

The following steps outline the process you can follow to reduce the risk of manual handling injuries in your workplace.

Step 1: Identify hazardous manual tasks

Not all manual tasks are hazardous.  It is important to identify those tasks that are hazardous and ensure that they are managed.

Hazardous manual tasks are those tasks that require forceful exertions which are repetitive, sustained, high or sudden, sustained or awkward postures, repetitive movements and/or exposure to vibration.  

Hazardous manual tasks can be identified by talking to the workers doing the tasks, looking for the risk factors while workers are performing the tasks, reviewing workplace information such as incident reports and looking for common trends.

Step 2: Assess the risk

A risk assessment should be carried out for any manual tasks that you have identified as hazardous unless the risk is well known and you know how to control it.  The risk assessment will help you find out what’s causing the risk and how to fix the problem. This is important so that the right controls can be implemented.

Step 3: Implement controls

The best controls are those that eliminate the risk at its source or minimise it through design changes e.g.

  • using an automated tyre changer with an integrated lifting device and tyre mount/demount attachment
  • mechanical aids such as a storage conveyor to lift tyres to storage on mezzanine levels or a lifting device with integrated rollers to elevate and align the wheel
  • changing the work floor layout to ensure clear passages for tyres to be rolled and reduce distance between areas.

To implement the most effective controls you should:

  • work through the hierarchy of control by starting at the top
  • get input from workers regarding control ideas
  • trial controls and consider feedback before making the changes permanent
  • develop work procedures to ensure controls are used appropriately
  • communicate the reasons for the changes
  • provide training to ensure workers know how to use the controls, what the work procedures are and how to report a problem.  Training should also include information about hazardous manual tasks risk management
  • ensure controls are maintained.

Step 4: Monitor and Review

Controls should be reviewed to ensure they are working as planned and that new problems haven’t been created.

Useful resources:

For further information, visit the hazardous manual tasks section on our website, or call us on 1300 362 128.

Last updated
07 February 2017