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PErforM webinar series

Webinar one: PErforM Introduction

This webinar provides an overview of the PErforM program. It is also a good foundation webinar for those who will be involved in PErforM activities at the workplace. The first webinar discusses:

  • how PErforM works and the potential benefits of implementing the program
  • success stories where PErforM has been used in industry
  • WHSQ PErforM resources that are available to assist workplaces
  • the key elements required for successful implementation of PErforM.

Webinar one resources

These resources are provided for your information and they are not required to be printed out for the session.

Webinar one film

Download a copy of this film (ZIP, 12MB)

PErforM Workshop
Part 1: Introduction to PErforM
Presented on 20 April 2016

Presented by:
Michelle James

Michelle James:
Good afternoon. Welcome to our webinar. My name is Michelle James. So this webinar is the introduction to the PErforM program.

So today's webinar is the first in a three part series on the PErforM program. Essentially what we'll be talking about today is just answering three key questions. What, why and how? So we're going to talk about what is the PErforM program and the resources that Workplace Health and Safety Queensland offer.

We'll discuss a bit about why workplaces might want to implement PErforM and share some benefits that workplaces in industry have reported that have used the program, and we're just going to touch on some things to consider when you want to implement the program. It's just to give you an idea ahead of some things that you might want to be aware of. We will cover implementing the program in a lot more detail throughout the series.

So just to let you know we do plan to run the session for about 45 minutes, and then we should have some time at the end for some questions. Please feel free though to post your questions as we go, but I will be addressing them after we've covered all the material for today.

So what is PErforM? Well the term is an acronym. It stands for Participative Ergonomics for Manual tasks. So it is a simplified manual task risk management program, and it is based on a participative ergonomics approach. So the idea of PErforM and participative ergonomics is that the worker is the expert in performing their tasks. So what PErforM does is provide a framework for assisting workers to identify and control their manual tasks risks within the workplace.

As part of this program, work teams are given training about manual tasks risks, and then they participate in facilitated workshops or sessions in the workplace to generate some control ideas.

Now research has demonstrated that participative ergonomics, that whole approach, has a positive effect on decreasing risk. So it really is an internationally recommended approach for reducing musculoskeletal disorders when you look at the research and evidence.

The advantages to using a participative approach where you have the workers involved in the process is that because the workers are experts on the job, they know what the problems are, and they know what controls are going to work. So this is going to mean the controls will fit in with the job demands and the workplace requirements. It also gives workers a greater sense of ownership and commitment because they're using the controls that they've developed.

There are some limitations around the PErforM risk assessment tool. It is a simplified approach, and I guess there's a couple of things I just want to highlight with simplifying something. For example it may not be suitable for complex manual tasks, for example tasks involving handling of people. So in these cases you would probably want to use other ergonomic assessment tools, or maybe consider engaging an expert in ergonomics to help you assess those and develop those controls.

However having said that, in industry sectors that are commonly associated with people handling like Community Services and Health, we have seen these sectors use the PErforM program really quite successfully but they're focusing on their non-clinical tasks, for example in the housekeeping, laundry, food services areas.

The other limitation I want to highlight is that the risk assessment tool doesn't take into account the cumulative effect of a range of different manual tasks that a worker might do across their whole shift. So the PErforM risk assessment will look at one task in its entirety and then you can assess another task. So with that in mind you'll need to have the work teams or a facilitator who's able to make some judgments about what other tasks the worker is being exposed to with the similar risk factors throughout the shift.

So if that's the case, you need to think about controls that are going to address that cumulative risk. However despite all that, the PErforM program has still been shown to be a very effective program for workplaces in managing manual tasks risk.

Just a little discussion on why we're focusing on manual tasks. Just think about your organisation. What types of injury claims are you experiencing the most at your workplace? When I ask this question in my PErforM workshops, the most common answer is sprains and strains. When we look at the workers' compensation data, it shows that the biggest injury type across all industries is sprains and strains or musculoskeletal disorders.

So the biggest cause of these sprain and strains is your hazardous manual tasks. So to bring down these injuries, we do need to focus on the primary cause. We're not just talking about manual handling, just lifting, but manual tasks, which is a whole range of tasks around pushing, pulling, holding. All these things do contribute to sprain and strain injuries.

The research also shows us that mental health and chronic disease risk factors can also contribute to these injury types. So today with PErforM we are just focused on manual tasks, and importantly the physical risk factors only. We have a range of other resources on the Workplace Health and Safety Queensland website to help you address these other areas if they are an issue in your workplace.

So it's critical to think about the true cost of these sprain and strain injuries that result from hazardous manual tasks. Sometimes a lot of workplaces will think well it is too expensive to manage our manual tasks. But think about the real costs. Yes they are insured injuries, but they do influence the workers' compensation premium.

So just to give you an idea of the costs around the workers' comp premium rates, just consider this example. One organisation who implemented PErforM risk, they had over 300 workers. They were able to reduce their workers' comp premium rate from $1.38 down to $0.98 in the 18 month period after implementing PErforM. So for them this translated to a saving off their premium bill of over $200,000. So that's quite a significant cost saving.

Of course there are also other costs to businesses that are associated with your injuries. You might think about the retraining of replacement staff, there could be delays in production. So when you're looking at all your total injury costs, are you also accounting for these uninsured costs? Look, even without an injury claim, some workers might just take sick days rather than report their sprain or strain injury. So again high absenteeism, that's costly, and it might also indicate that there are problems in your workplace.

So look, the impact of these costs on business profitability can be enormous. Now in addition the last dot point there. In addition to being good for business, a key reason we want you to manage manual tasks is that it is a legal duty under the Workplace Health and Safety legislation.

So we'll just quickly look at that, because I'm pretty sure most people listening today would be quite familiar with the Workplace Health and Safety legislation. So I've just got some of the key sections outlined on the slide there. On the left we have the Act, and that requires that employers ensure health and safety, and also notice that there is a duty to consult. So employers are required to consult with their workers around health and safety matters. Also we have the regulations. So they're a little more specific, and yes, we do have a regulation on hazardous manual tasks and we'll look at that shortly.

On the right I'm just showing you a couple of the relevant Codes of Practice, the Hazardous Manual Tasks Code of Practice and the Manual Tasks Involving the Handling of People. So there is a lot of guidance and some tools or worksheets in those Codes of Practice to help workplaces manage their manual tasks.

So what does the regulation say?

So the hazardous manual task regulation requires, as up there on the slide, that a person who's conducting a business or undertaking must manage the risks to health and safety relating to musculoskeletal disorders or sprains and strains associated with hazardous manual tasks. So the main thing I want to point out there is see that link to Part 3.1?

So what's Part 3.1 about? It is the risk management process. Let's just have a quick look at what that's about. When we talk about the risk management approach, we're talking about the ongoing process where you identify, assess, control and review. So the point here is that this is what the regulation requires in relation to hazardous manual tasks, and you know the PErforM program follows this process.

Let's just think about a common approach to controlling manual tasks risk. In talking to industry we've become quite aware that many workplaces often still rely on using training workers in lifting techniques, talking about the lifting with a straight back and bent knees, and often that's their primary way to control the risk. Now that's really an administrative control, and so it's really not enough just to start with relying on training.

You are relying on the workers' behaviour as your control here.

So what does the legislation require? Well it requires that you follow the hierarchy of control as per the risk management approach, and you do need to start off trying to eliminate the manual task or using engineering controls, redesigning tasks to minimise the risk.

There's also a lot of research that shows that lifting technique training isn't terribly effective, and this is also because you're not actually changing the risk factors. For example if I had to lift an extremely heavy object, even if I follow a safe lifting technique I am still potentially at risk of injury. The other point is that manual tasks are more than just lifting, so this approach wouldn't apply to managing all the other tasks that are contributing to sprain and strain injuries.

You know in the reality of the day to day, the layout of the workplace, work demands, think about overhead obstruction type spaces, it can make it really hard for workers to adopt a straight back and bent knees. If they've got an awkward load or a tight space to work in, it might not be possible for workers to follow that specific lifting technique. So we're really highlighting here that the regulation does require you start managing your manual tasks by following the risk management approach, and PErforM will help you do that.

Of course we're not saying all training is bad. You do need to provide training to workers in relation to how to perform their hazardous manual tasks, and the Code of Practice for Hazardous Manual Tasks has some guidance on what should be considered in that training.

So looking at all of that, just to finish off our discussion on compliance, there are a number of different ways that organisations can choose to go about managing the risks associated with their hazardous manual tasks. There's a few different examples up there on the slide. Now providing that there is a system in place to ensure that consultation with the workers is happening, then it doesn't really matter which approach you follow. You can have management or your OH&S staff looking at the Codes of Practice, getting guidance from there, developing controls. You may need to bring in a consultant, an expert in the area to help you. You can also use workers job knowledge, and that bottom one there, using the workers job knowledge, that is where PErforM sits. A lot of workplaces just tend to use a combination of the above.

So PErforM is just one approach to managing hazardous manual tasks risk. It focuses on the physical risk factors, but it is optional. Let's have a look at some of the key elements of the PErforM program.

Alright. So PErforM is more than just a risk assessment worksheet. It is a whole program. So you can see here a model of a summary of the critical elements of the PErforM program. If you just take one thing away from today, it should be these key elements. So starting on the left, we can see worker participation, management commitment and a site champion. So they're the critical components to the program.

PErforM is different from a lot of tools, because it's really about involving the workers and relevant other people in the whole process, from identifying the problem manual tasks right through to the development and the implementation of your controls. It utilises the expert knowledge that the workers have of their own tasks, by getting them involved in improving their workplace. So this means that controls are more likely to be effective and to meet the operational demands of the jobs.

Sometimes workplaces - and we've seen this - they've put resources into purchasing and implementing controls that just in the end don't fit in with the job demands, and sadly they remain unused. Look, with PErforM workers typically come up with simple and cost effective solutions to many problem manual tasks. We'll have a look at some examples later in the session.

The other benefit of having the workers involved is that you get their buy in. Now isn't getting the workforce engaged half the battle?

So workers are more likely to be committed to adopting new task procedures if they were involved in coming up with the idea, rather than just being told 'We've reviewed your job and this is the new procedure that you're going to follow,' or 'This is the new equipment you need to use'.

In that part of the model the others there relate to other stakeholders or people or groups who will influence or can impact any change made to the work process. So think outside the box here. This might be engineers. Think about your supply chain - suppliers, manufacturers. It could be your customers, designers. You might need to look at getting in an expert to help come up with some controls. It's important that these other stakeholders are identified and involved right at the outset of the program.

Now of course you need management commitment to run anything in your workplace, but when it comes to PErforM this commitment would involve management supporting workers to have the time to do PErforM related activities, things like training and risk assessments and control development. So they may not be able to do this during their regular duties, so it may require thinking about taking workers offline or maybe trying to factor in a time when the workers can have the time to do these things.

Management will also need to provide the resources to support implementation of approved controls. Now the site champion, for want of a better word, that's just someone who's going to drive the program. So have a think about at your workplace who the best person might be, because ideally you want someone who is enthusiastic and can positively influence uptake of the program.

The fat blue arrow there in the centre, that just highlights some of the important components of a successful participative ergonomics intervention. It includes things like team training. So the workers and the leaders, they need to understand some of the relevant terms. So this would be the risk factors, how to use the worksheet, how to develop controls. So they will need some training, and you can think about fitting this training in with your organisation's needs.

You also need to think about communication, communicating between the workers and management at all stages of the PErforM program, and about how the implementation of controls is going. It's really important to maintain that communication. If you have workers involved in coming up with controls and they submit their ideas for approval to management and weeks go by and they don't hear anything, they are going to lose a bit of faith in the whole program. So to maintain that trust and the confidence in the program, you do need to think about how you're going to maintain the communication.

Think about tapping into existing communication systems or methods that you already have in your workplace, like meetings. Maybe add PErforM as a standing agenda item to some meetings. Think about your noticeboards or other ways, newsletters, the way you communicate in your organisation.

Think about integrating the PErforM program into your current health and safety management system. So this is important. Rather than PErforM just being on the side, it's going to help it maintain its life and make it a sustained program. PErforM follows the risk management process, so that's great.

You also want to think about evaluation, and have a process to evaluate the success of your intervention and think about many potential risks that have been introduced by some of the changes. This is important again for sustaining the program and improving it, and it's also great information that you can report back to management. So at the end of the day, it's all about achieving control of your hazardous manual tasks and reducing the risks.

But the other benefits that we've had organisations report include improving health, improvements to productivity and boosts to their safety culture. We have some case studies on our website that show the benefits workplaces in Queensland have experienced in these areas, and we'll look at them shortly.

So to support organisations to implement the PErforM program Workplace Health and Safety Queensland have a range of PErforM resources, and these can all be found on our website. After I talk through the resources on the slide, we'll go outside the webinar and I'll show you where it is.

So you can see on the top left there's some templates for PowerPoint presentations. So you can use these in your organisation to deliver training to your work teams or to provide an overview of the program to managers. You can tailor these to your organisation.

Below that we have just a really brief overview. That's our frequently asked questions, and it's a useful overview just to give managers or staff, just covering off the main points about the PErforM program.

In the centre there we've got two key documents for the PErforM program, and the one at the top there is the Resource Manual. That's designed to assist those that are actually responsible for implementing the program, and it has a lot of practical, useful information. So it has for example things to consider when you're implementing the program. It has templates in the back there that can help you with planning and documenting the proposed controls and presenting those to management. So a good template that you can just write all that information in. It also has a template you can use to prepare a business case for example for purchasing a control.

The other document there is our PErforM Handbook, and that's really just the basics of PErforM. It has information on the risk factors, how the PErforM tool works, how to develop controls, and it also has the worksheets in the back. The worksheet itself is available separately on the website, and that's shown on the right. I'll show you briefly how that works too soon.

The other resource I wanted to highlight is a short film, and that's called No Sprains and Big Gains.

Now we'll just go to our website.

Just be a moment while I can get control and show you where I want to go on the website.

Okay. So where we have come, we've just landed on the Participative Ergonomics and Manual Tasks PErforM page. So to get to this page, when you come to our website you'll see these tabs at the top, and you need to look out for Injury Prevention and Safety. You can see under that there are some headings, and Hazardous Manual Tasks is the key heading there, and I'll just show you behind that. When you get to Hazardous Manual Tasks you'll be able to see down the bottom there is Participative Ergonomics for Manual Tasks. So that's PErforM. So when you're on the PErforM page this is where you can go to get the resources. So we'll just view the PErforM resources.

So these are some of the things that I've talked about. This is the Manual, which is the one for people who are implementing the program. These are the very brief frequently asked questions. We have the Handbook and the worksheet. These are the PowerPoint templates, and we also have these webinars. They are stories from workplaces who have successfully implemented the program, and they're really interesting, because they share how they've done it and some of the benefits that they've had. They usually show their controls that they've implemented as well.

We also have these case studies down the bottom, and they have a cost benefit in them. So it's really great to see yes, investing in a control might require some initial cost, but in all of these case studies we can see that the control has paid itself off in a fairly short time. So they're interesting to look at as well.

The other thing on our website will be the workshops. You can book in our workshops on the website, and feel free to come along even after these sessions. If you still want to get a little bit more information about the PErforM program, you are welcome to come along to our workshops. We are booked out at the moment with the workshops that are on there, but we will be putting some more on there for the later part of the year shortly.

The other thing is that we have a PErforM network. So once people have come to one of our workshops and after this webinar series, so after the last of the webinars, the participants in those webinars will be able to join the PErforM network. So the network is just made up of workplaces who are interested in implementing PErforM. They're all at different places in the journey. Some are still at that initial planning stage, but others have become quite expert users in the program. So it's really an opportunity for people to share their learnings and experiences around implementing PErforM.

So that's our resources. Now I just want to talk about the worksheet. So as I said, it's more than just filling in a worksheet. But I do want to show you how it works, because I think part of the appeal of the whole program – and this is something that employers have said back to us – is how simple it makes assessing manual tasks. Workplaces often comment on how easy it is for workers to be able to use this simple tool.

So the next few slides are just going to give you a snapshot of how that two page worksheet works. I'm going to show you just how easy it is to use it. So in a moment I'm going to play a video, and I won't be able to talk while it's playing so I'll just briefly explain the task and scenario before we play the video.
So this is a hazardous manual task that was identified by workers in a Queensland manufacturing organisation. So prior to getting to this stage, the workers had received some PErforM training that the organisation delivered using the resources on our website. So they had training on what the risk factors were, how to use the worksheet, and also how to develop controls.

The PErforM risk assessment team in this case was made up of workers, managers, including the team leader, operational staff and their health and safety advisor. So the task that they assessed was actually lifting a lid on this pre-heater box. So it's basically an enclosed box that maintains tools to a specific temperature. This task was completed about once a day, and the operators had to open the lid just to change the tools over. So they've identified this as a hazardous manual task.

So when we play it, just so you don't fall off your chairs, there might be a bit of background noise. You might want to turn your volume down a little bit. Don't forget to turn it back up so that you can hear me once the video has completed. But while you're watching it, just have a think about what parts of the body you think might be affected by the task.
(video playing)
Okay. So with that task I'm sure everybody would agree we can see that probably the main body parts that were affected would be the shoulders. This is the risk assessment that the workers have come up with. So they've identified the shoulders and the lower back, and you can see then that they've rated on the left the risk factors for each of those body parts. The main things they've come up with for the shoulders was exertion at about a four, and awkward postures.

So I know we haven't discussed the risk factors yet. That's going to be discussed in Part 2 next week. But look, this is just to show you how the tool works, and I'm sure you can see that it really is a really simple format for workers to be able to have a discussion about 'Hey, this task is a problem. Where am I feeling the pain? Where am I feeling fatigued, and what are the risk factors that I'm feeling in those body parts?'

So they've come up with a control after doing their risk assessment, and I don't think I need to say much here, but they've identified the force of exertions and awkward postures. So they've tried to reduce that by this control. So again you might want to turn your volume down a little bit.

And we'll play the video.

(video playing)

Okay. So just having a look at that picture for a minute more. So we can see the workers have just I guess reduced those risk factors by putting a hinge down the middle of the lid so they can easily open the lid from the side. So to be honest, I don't think this control is quite there yet. There's probably a little bit more they can do. So let's have a look at their post-control assessment.

So you can use PErforM like this. You can do an assessment once you've implemented the control and see what comes up. So you can see they focused on the same body parts, and we can see that the exertion and awkward postures have been reduced. So that's great.

Long term they could think about installing gas struts for example, and that might reduce the exertion actually required to lift the hinged lid. So I'm sure you can see it's really a very simple tool for workers to get their head around to be able to use.

Okay. I just want to highlight that quite a diverse range of industries and organisations have used the PErforM program, and you can just see a small example of some of those organisations who have been kind enough to let us use their logo up on the slide there. So you can see quite a range of organisations from health, education, community services, councils, construction, civil construction, manufacturing and mining have been able to use the PErforM program.

It's also suitable for all sizes of organisations. When you start off, often the way the PErforM program is rolled out is an organisation won't roll it out across their whole organisation at once. It's much better to start small, and because it is focused on work teams and small groups of maybe about eight workers, that is certainly going to be suitable for smaller to medium sized businesses.

Just some data from organisations that have used the program. I just want to share with you some of their reports. Now the Council of the City of Gold Coast, they started with the PErforM program in their city cleaning branch in about 2013, and approximately 18 months later they reported a significant reduction in their workers' compensation claims for manual handling injuries. So you can see it was a 60 percent reduction. So that's a huge result for an organisation. You think about the impact that would have on their premium rate as well for an organisation like that.

So as a result of that success the program is being rolled out in other areas of the branch in Gold Coast Water, and they're going to continue implementing it across Council.

Another organisation, CSR Limited, a national organisation, they used the PErforM tool as part of their manual handling project. They reported after running it for 12 months a 38 percent reduction in their manual handling work related compensation claims costs. So it's fantastic results there. Both organisations also reported improved communication and safety culture, increased productivity, and they also commented that workers were being proactive in identifying problem manual tasks.

So that's the beauty of the PErforM program, is that it really provides the language and the frameworks for workers to start having discussions around their problem manual tasks.

So bear in mind that these reductions in injuries will translate to cost savings and productivity improvements for these organisations.

So now I just want to show you a couple of examples of some specific controls that have come out of the Gold Coast Council. So in their city cleaning branch they had identified workers were using some awkward postures and they are forced to reach items stored in the back of their cleaning trucks. So the boilermakers made up some shelving units on the back there that utilise the vertical space. So that's greatly reduced the amount of reaching and lifting required for the workers to access chemicals that they need during their shift. So not a lot of money or resources to implement a control like that, but a great improvement to that manual task.

Another example I want to share with you from the Gold Coast Council was this city bins example. So this task was also identified as part of the PErforM program. So across the City Council they had about 700 of these garbage bins, and you can see the ones I'm talking about on the left. They weigh 60 to 80 kilos when full at times, and they did report many sprain and strain injuries as a result of workers having to manually lift, carry and empty these bins.

So the control that they've come up with was actually providing a larger capacity bin, like a wheelie bin, and these bins can be wheeled and mechanically lifted on to a truck. So it's definitely reduced the manual handling around this task.

The other benefit is that the larger bins only need to be serviced once a day instead of the usual three or four times a day, which is what the smaller bins required. The Council had reported that as a result of improving this task they were looking at the lost time shifts around this task were 184 in 2012. Well that's come down to just six in 2013.

Now when I was talking about our PErforM resources I mentioned we have some industry case studies on the website, and I said they talk about some of the cost benefits. So this is an example of one of those. So we can see the before of this workplace. So this workplace implemented the PErforM program, and the task before was – the photo is on the right at the top. So the task was in a foundry, and we had two employees who had to spend two full days inside this settling furnace with a jackhammer and shovels to break down and remove large clumps of metal slag and bricks that could weigh up to around 30 kilos. So they had to clean that all out before it was relined.

So the workers did the PErforM risk assessment on this task, and not surprisingly you can see it would have come up high in all those risk factors. Certainly a lot of force, awkward postures and things like that. So it was certainly a hazardous manual task.

Now they've gone to quite a high level control here. So I think it's a great example of the cost benefits. So they did look at elimination, and the company agreed to trial hiring a mini-type excavator. So using a remote control – and we can see the operator on the left using the remote control – they were able to with the excavator achieve the task mechanically, and it takes less than two hours. So we've had two workers, two full days down to less than two hours, and obviously eliminating that task for the workers. The other benefit was this excavator is able to be used at other areas in the workplace.

Now let's have a look at the cost here. So the company had reported four musculoskeletal disorders. They ranged from about $40,000 to $70,000 in costs. Now the control did come at quite an expense, just under $118,000 to implement this control. But just looking at the labour and maintenance savings alone, this control has paid for itself in less than a year. So that's a great outcome for this workplace. So it's a really good thing to keep in mind the productivity, the benefits, and while sometimes controls there may be an initial cost – and I'm sure from the examples you've seen they're not always this expensive. This is quite a high level control, but even so, it has paid for itself in quite a short time.

So we're coming to the end of our session, and I just want to summarise what we've talked about today. So we really highlighted why it's a good thing to manage your hazardous manual tasks. They are a big problem and costly for businesses, and the legislation does require that you manage those. But at the end of the day, it is good for business to invest in managing your manual tasks.

The PErforM program is just one optional way that you might choose to help manage your manual tasks, and it will help you meet compliance under the Workplace Health and Safety legislation.

Just some key things to keep in mind when it comes to implementing the PErforM program, is that it requires or it's based on having the worker participation, and that it requires having that management commitment, and it's also about identifying a good site champion.

So as part of the webinar series, Part 2 which we will be running next week, that's going to be covering the risk factors, how to use that worksheet, how to use the tool, and we'll go through a couple of practical examples showing you how to do that. More importantly, we really will be I guess fleshing out those risk factors so that you really have a good understanding of what they look like and how you can guide your workers and have the discussions around those risk factors at the workplace.

So if you are planning on joining us next week, please make sure that you have registered for that webinar.

Now I also want to highlight that in preparation for next week, you will need to print out some materials before the webinar. So it's not a lot, but there's just three two page documents. So that's going to be a blank worksheet and two worksheets that have been tailored to two manual tasks. You will see those when you go to the registration link for the webinar next week. They should be there under Event Materials. We will also be able to email those out to the participants for next week.

So I would say we're coming to the end of the session. Now I think we've got a few questions that have come through, so I'll just take a minute to have a look at those and get back to you very shortly on those questions. We might only have time, depending on the types of questions, for a couple. If I don't get to address all of them, I will certainly follow up after the webinar. So I'll just be a moment looking at those questions.


Hi Michelle. Just to let you know we do have a few questions. One of them was:
Q:        'Does Workplace Health and Safety offer any one on one support to workplaces to implement PErforM?'

Michelle James:

Okay. Thanks. Well yes. The answer is yes. Workplace Health and Safety, we have regional offices across Queensland, and we are happy to offer one on one support to workplaces. However it is a case by case basis, and it does depend on obviously the commitments and workloads of our regional PErforM trainers at the time. So one thing we might be able to do for example is go along to the workplace for their first in-house training session. So if an organisation has put together a training session for their work teams, we could come along and help facilitate that session.

We really wouldn't see our role as certainly being like a consultant, but we just want to go and provide that assistance and help the workplace to get started so that they're able to sustain the program.


Great. Thanks for that Michelle. I just had a general comment come through as well which is great, just saying:
Q:        'Workers in a workplace where I once worked stated the PErforM risk assessment tool was 100 percent easier to use than the old eight page one that the company was using at the time.'

So that's great news. Thanks for passing that one on.

Also we've had another question come through.
Q:        'How do we order the resources and DVDs etcetera?'

Michelle James:

Those resources are all available on the website where I showed you, and I think the quickest way to get them would be to go to our Workplace Health and Safety website and download them. So you can download them and save them on to your computer there.

If you are having any trouble accessing them, you need to get in touch with us. Get in touch, and that message to our Contact Workplace Health and Safety email will come through to me and I'll be able to help you get some of those resources.

The film is available on the website, and if you go to Hazardous Manual Tasks Resources, the film is there under the video heading. So the No Sprains Big Gains DVD or film can also be downloaded off our website as well.


Great. Thanks Michelle. I've also just had a couple of comments come through just saying can they get a copy of the link to the PowerPoint and any printing, as well as registering for the sessions and about getting the content for the next one. I can just say that the PowerPoint will be sent in a follow up email today. So you don't need to worry everybody, you'll be able to see the PowerPoint from today. It's also being recorded, so there should be a session placed online for you. We'll also be sending out the registration links for the other two workshops along in the follow up email. So thanks.

Back to you Michelle.

Michelle James:

Okay. Well I think that's it for our session today. Before you go I just want to say this is the first time we have run this workshop as a webinar. So I know this is one of a three part series, but we really welcome your feedback. It is so valuable in improving the future events. So please complete the survey that will pop up after the webinar.

I'll look forward to joining you next week.

[End of Transcript]

Webinar two: PErforM risk assessment tool and risk factors

Building on the content from webinar one, this webinar explains how to:

  • identify the risk factors for hazardous manual tasks
  • use the PErforM risk assessment tool.

This webinar is a practical session and participants will be shown how to apply PErforM to examples of hazardous manual tasks. Before watching the webinar please make sure you have available:

  • print outs of the three resource materials
  • coloured pens or pencils

Webinar two resources

  1. PErforM risk assessment tool (DOC, 0.28 MB)
  2. Manual Task 1 (PDF, 0.2 MB)
  3. Manual Task 2 (PDF, 0.28 MB)

Webinar two film

Download a copy of this film (ZIP, 29MB)

PErforM Workshop
Part 2: Risk Factors and PErforM Worksheet
Presented on 27 April 2016

Presented by:

Michelle James
Principal Advisor Ergonomics

Michelle James:

Good afternoon and welcome to our webinar. My name is Michelle James.

So today we are continuing on with our PErforM workshop webinar series, and today we are looking at Part 2: Risk factors and the PErforM worksheet.

So we plan to run the session today for about 45 minutes. Please make sure if you haven't already done so that you have printed out the three documents that we're going to be using during the session, and also that you have a couple of pens handy to use for the practical activities that we're going to be doing.

Now the documents if you haven't got them yet will be on the registration link that you've used to join us today. On the left hand side there, just have a look under Event Materials.

So the main objective of today's session is for you to come away feeling comfortable with using the PErforM worksheet to assess hazardous manual tasks. So to do that we're going to have a look at the physical risk factors for manual tasks so that you can identify hazardous manual tasks and those risk factors in your workplace. Then we're going to go through a couple of scenarios to give you a chance to practice using the PErforM worksheet. So we'll work through two activities based on the worksheets that you've hopefully got printed.

Just about questions, now I won't have time to answer questions today. We have quite a bit of content to get through. But if you do have any questions, please do use the Q&A function on the right hand side there, and I will follow up with your questions after the webinar and get back to you over the next couple of days.

Alright. Well before we get into all of that, I just thought it might be helpful to quickly recap what we looked at last week. So in summary we talked about why we need to manage manual tasks, because they are the main cause of our sprain and strain injuries. When we thought about the financial costs of those sprain and strain injuries, not just the impact on your workers' compensation premium, but all those other costs around the injuries that can impact on businesses, that financial cost can be enormous. So preventing those types of injuries really makes good business sense.

We also talked about the legislation, and managing those injuries is part of your legislative requirement. There are a number of ways we looked at that you can manage hazardous manual tasks, and PErforM is really just one option out there. But it is a really simplified approach, and because of its simplicity and ease of use, it has been successful in many workplaces.

We talked about some of the critical elements that the PErforM requires to be implemented successfully. It requires worker participation. So it's based on the participative ergonomics approach, and that kind of approach utilises the expert knowledge that the workers have to complete the risk assessments on their tasks, and to develop effective controls that they know will work.

We also highlighted the importance of having management commitment and supporting the PErforM program. In particular this would look like supporting workers to have time offline to undertake some PErforM related activities, like letting workers engage in training and developing controls, and management also being supportive of implementing the approved controls. Someone to drive the program or a site champion is another critical factor in implementing the program.

So now let's have a look at hazardous manual tasks. So what is a hazardous manual task? What are we talking about here? Well we'll have a look at the definition in our regulation.

So you can see that's up there on the screen, and if we have a look at that top paragraph, that's really any kind of manual task. So the point is it's anything where a person is lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, carrying. It's a wide range of manual tasks. It's not just lifting and carrying. It's not just manual handling. But not all manual tasks are a problem.

So we have a lot of manual tasks, but you only need to worry about the problem ones. That's where we need to look at the risk factors. Okay. So the risk factors are there dot pointed under that paragraph. So we have things like repetitive or sustained force, high or sudden force, repetitive movement, sustained or awkward postures and exposure to vibration.

So these risk factors are outlined in the regulation, and it's the presence of one or more of those that make a manual task a hazardous manual task. Now when we look at the PErforM worksheet – so if you have that handy refer to the blank one. So it won't have an activity printed on it, it will just have the PErforM template. If you turn over to worksheet two – you don't have to do this, but I just want to highlight that you might notice on the PErforM worksheet it has a matrix, and it does talk about the risk factors on the worksheet.

Now you might notice that the risk factors use slightly different terms. Like for example if you look at the top, 'exertion', instead of 'repetitive or sustained force' it just says 'exertion'. So the reason for that is because PErforM was actually developed under the previous legislation which also had slightly different terminology, so PErforM was in line with the legislation before harmonisation. However the meaning is still the same for us. So 'exertion' is another way of referring to how much force the person is using, whether it's repetitive, sustained, high or sudden.

So we don't need to worry about that. The meaning is essentially the same, and PErforM is still a great tool to help you meet compliance with the regulation around hazardous manual tasks.

So we've talked about not all manual tasks are a problem, so you only need to assess the hazardous ones, so where you have those risk factors. How do we go about identifying a hazardous manual task? So we've got some suggestions up there. Really any time you're making a change in the workplace, if you're bringing in new equipment or creating a new process, wherever there's a new change this might impact on the way the job is done. So you could use the PErforM tool at that time, so identifying that as a potential hazardous manual task and doing an assessment. That's a great opportunity.

Also if you've got an indication that something is wrong – and you might want to make a note here – really ask the workers. You might want to put out a survey. You might just want to walk around and talk to them. But speaking with the workers there, asking them if they're aware of any problem manual tasks. You might look at your data around your worker's compensation claims, or people may not be making a claim, but if there's some high absenteeism, that could be an indication that there are some problems.

Also after you've had an incident and you can relate that to a manual task, that's another good time to do your PErforM worksheet. Ideally it's great if you can record all the hazardous manual tasks that you've identified on a hazard register, and that will help later on when it comes to prioritising which ones that you're going to start off with.
It's great to consider your hazardous manual tasks proactively. So try and put in place controls before any incidents happen.

So now we're going to have a look at the PErforM worksheet. So again I'll ask you to refer to the blank PErforM risk assessment tool, so starting off with Worksheet 1. That should be highlighted there for you on the screen. I really want to make the point that PErforM is so much more than just about filling in a worksheet. PErforM is about a whole program, but of course today's session is really focused on just getting you comfortable with using this risk assessment worksheet.

So it is very simple to use, and you can see some of the things that you need to start with Worksheet 1. I also want to highlight when you use this worksheet in the PErforM process in your workplace, the really important thing is that it's all about the discussion and the input that the workers are having. Don't get hung up too much on how accurately it's being done. With appropriate training, workers should have a good idea of how to identify and assess the risk factors using this worksheet. But at the end of the day, the beauty of this is that you are having workers who are talking to supervisors and other people about their problem manual tasks, and they're proactively trying to improve them and come up with solutions. So PErforM provides you with the framework to do this.

So let's go through Worksheet 1. You can see the first part of the PErforM risk assessment process is just about thinking about the task that's been identified by your work team, and breaking it down just to think about any of the significant risk factors or things that might contribute.

So the risk assessment tool of this worksheet is really useful for recording some brief notes about the task. Just think about why would it be a good idea to have a written record of your assessment.

So one reason might be if you were to do a before and after assessment, you've got something to go by to see how much the task has improved.
Another good reason might be to have a written record to help with re-evaluating controls down the track, and it also provides evidence that the risk assessment has been done.

Now when you're doing the PErforM training and you're preparing to use the worksheet with your work teams, you and the work team would have ideally identified at least one problem task to start your assessment off with. So you can then go about using the worksheet and doing this assessment in a few different ways. For example you could video the identified problem task, or a worker in the work team could film their colleagues performing that task. So then you can all assess the task using the worksheet while you're watching the video.

It is easy to assess a task using the video rather than trying to assess it live or on site, because you don't have all the distractions that occur in the workplace. You can replay the footage repeatedly, and you can discuss as a group what's happening, what's going on, what you can see. It can also be very interesting and even eye opening for workers to see what they're actually doing. Often times they're quite surprised at how repetitive the task actually is for example.
However video recording may not work for your workplace or your workers for a number of reasons. Workers may not feel comfortable with being filmed. That's okay. Even if a co

worker is doing the filming, that may not work out. So if you're not going to film, then that's fine. You can have the work team discuss the task live or on site. So your workers will need to have good training and somebody who can lead that discussion and help complete the worksheet.

Now it's good to show on the form who you've consulted with, who's been part of that process, and you can see that it has a spot there for you to make that recording. Remember consultation is one of the requirements under the Workplace Health and Safety legislation. That is consultation with your workers. So you can put in the workers that were involved on Worksheet 1.

Looking down at the other headings, it's really important to record a description that actually reflects how the task is being done. Don't just go to the work method statement or any written procedures on the job, actually view how the job is being done in the workplace. You can also have a look at the PErforM handbook to get an idea of what information you can put in this section. In the back of the handbook in Appendix 2 there are some completed case studies. So the PErforM handbook I referred to last week, that's on our website. So that's got some information to help fill in the worksheet.

So looking at why the task has been selected. So it should be picked because you think it is a problem. You're not going to go and assess every task, only the problem ones.

So looking at the general description, you really want to put this also in words that's meaningful to the workers, and put some background information. Get some details here. So you might want to look at the tools that the workers are using or maybe take some measurements. For example look at how long the task is being performed for. Measure the distance that the workers are travelling. You might want to use a stopwatch to time the cycle time. Look at how long the shifts go for, when workers' breaks are being taken. Think about whether controls have been implemented previously. All that kind of information is really useful to go into Worksheet 1. It gives you a good background to base your assessment on.

Now let's have a look at Worksheet 2. This is I think the more fun part of the PErforM risk assessment. So you'll notice this is really where you really assess the risk. Just have a look at the top and you can see it's got the instructions at the top, three instructions. Underneath that we'll have the risk factors, and we're going to have a look at those risk factors shortly.

On the right hand side there is a body map. So let's have a look at the body map. So this is just a bit of a representation of that body map. This is where you would start on the form. So firstly you start by thinking about which body parts are primarily affected when workers are performing the task.

So when you're going through this with your workers, you might ask them which body parts get tired or sore when they're doing the task. Again this might differ between workers. People might perform the task a little bit differently. So that's okay. Workers can put in and assess some different body parts. If you're doing it as a group, you do want to try and go with the main consensus.

If more than one body part is being affected, we would colour that in different colours or you could use different shapes. For example you could use a circle for the lower back and then maybe you could use a triangle for example for the wrist, or you could use a blue colour for the wrist. So it's up to you. The idea is to use the matching colour for the body part when you start scoring the risk factors. Okay?

So if you've used a red for the lower back, then when you go to the worksheet, to the matrix there, and you start indicating whether the back came up as a three or a four under exertion, then you would mark that with the same colour. So I just want to highlight you can combine different body parts. If you think the task is making – for example you might have the wrist and the arm doing a similar kind of movement. You can combine those body parts, or you could do the right arm and left arm if they're working together and doing similar movements. So you can combine different body parts and assess them together.

Again it's not about right or wrong. There really is no right or wrong answer. It's just about workers having this discussion around what the problems are in their tasks. So they can assess as many body parts as they feel are affected by the task. You might want to just assess the right side or left side, so just make sure you do indicate which side of the body is being affected.

With assessing the risk factors, you'll see the five risk factors are rated on a scale of one to five. So you can see one being no risk and then moving right up to five being a high risk. It's so important to keep in mind that you must assess each risk factor separately. Think about the task and focus on the risk factors that are associated with performing this task.

We are going to discuss these risk factors in a lot more detail very shortly, and that's really going to help you understand how to rate them. You'll notice also if you look at the worksheet there where the risk factors are, that there are some questions to help you make the decision about how to rate them. For example with exertion, it says how much force is the person using, and you can think about starting or stopping quickly there. For awkward posture it says how awkward is the person's posture, and the words there help you to identify where your posture should fit in. Are most postures neutral or are they moderately uncomfortable or are they very uncomfortable?

So the wording there is really designed just to give you some support and help you to make the right rating.

It is a part of the assessment that often takes a little bit of discussion with the work team, and again having the handbook close by to help you make those decisions is really helpful.

Now I'll point out yes, you've probably seen that the scale is quite subjective, and we've talked about it's not about being right or wrong. But generally the results from when we've run our workshops, face to face workshops with workers and going out to workplaces and doing some training workshops there, what we find in those sessions is that when people do their ratings the ratings tend to be quite consistent. Rarely do we have someone saying 'Look, I think it's two for exertion,' and other people saying it's a four. We might have some discussion around whether it's a three or a four, so that borderline, but it's generally very consistent so it's usually not an issue.

If your scores come up with a four or a five, that's when you would need to think about controlling that task. The three is borderline, so you might even want to consider controls if you do get a three.

Now let's have a look at the manual task risk factors.

So how do your manual task injuries actually occur? Basically the musculoskeletal structure – so we're talking about your muscles, ligaments, tendons, discs, joints, etcetera – they can become overloaded and then that can lead to fatigue. Just like any supportive structure, when you have fatigue that can lead to damage and failure, or in the case of the human body this would lead to a musculoskeletal injury or a sprain and strain type of injury. So occasionally you can have a one off exposure to a really severe high load, and that might result in a sprain or strain, but most often your sprain and strain injuries are a result of this repeated ongoing wear and tear. That's often to the more subtle risk factors that people may not notice such as repetition and being in awkward postures as well.

So to identify the manual tasks that are potentially putting ourselves and our co-workers at risk, we really need to understand the manual task risk factors. So there's so many manual tasks out there, and so many different ways that the risk factors present. We are just looking at the physical risk factors, but it's really important to have an understanding of those. So we are going to spend the next few slides just showing you some pictures of them and really trying to help you understand what those risk factors look like.

So the first one we're going to have a look at is force. So this is where you would think about how much force the person is using, or on the PErforM tool it comes up there as exertion. Because it really is a forceful exertion, it's placing high load on the structures in the body, the muscles, the discs, the ligaments and the joints. So the greater the force the higher the risk. The force is also relative to the body part. For example small muscles of the hand because they're smaller can only tolerate a smaller amount of force compared to the force that larger muscle groups could tolerate.

So forceful exertions require muscles to work hard, and then that can cause fatigue which can start to lead to some micro-damage and injuries. When you have fast movements or a real sort of jerking action, that generally requires a high force. So if you think about pull starting a mower, that's going to involve quite a high force.

If you have a look at the pictures on the screen there, the top pictures shows a lady clipping on a wheel for a wheelchair, and we can see in her hand clearly the tendons bulging. So obviously there's quite a high force in that task.

Let's also look at a video.

Okay. So you should be able to focus on the worker in the yellow vest and see the force that he is using as part of his task.

(video playing)

Okay. So I'm sure you would have seen this poor worker lifting quite heavy chunks of concrete off the ground.

We could clearly see the force that was required to lift these, especially that last piece. So force is one of the risk factors that is probably easier to observe, and often we can see people are struggling and we know that there's high force there. But think about the tasks that you have at your workplace that might involve forceful exertions or high exertion. Often tasks that are designated for two workers to do or a task that people will say 'Oh yeah, we get the strong guy to do that,' that's a real flag to say that that task probably would come up high in exertion. There's a lot of forceful exertion in those tasks.

Let's move on and have a look at the next risk factor.

So we're looking at working postures. So the PErforM worksheet really focuses on awkward postures. So when you have an awkward posture, that's where your joints are at or near the extreme range of their movement. So it could be your head bent to your side trying to touch your shoulder for example. So ideally we work in a neutral posture.

So if you're sitting there at your desk, just look down at your hand. You can put your hand out into a handshake position. So if you have a look at the position there of your hand or your wrist body part in that handshake position, that's a pretty neutral posture for the wrist. There are tasks that might require workers to adopt awkward postures, and often that is due to the design of the tool or the handle of the tool that they're handling, or the layout of the workplace that they're performing the task in.

Now you might also come across static postures. So that's when you're holding a posture for a prolonged period. Now PErforM does mainly focus on awkward postures. If you have a static posture, it will likely come up as being something under duration. Let's have a look now at some different body parts and postures just to explore the idea of awkward postures a little bit further. Because we often find this is the risk factor that takes people a little bit of thinking about to really get their head around how to rate it.

So let's have a look at neck postures. So you can see a series of pictures and some numbers under them. So it's just giving you an idea of how we would recommend for that particular posture what you might rate it under awkward posture on the risk factor worksheet. So you can see the comfortable posture there for the neck would be a one, and then as we have a little bit of flexion we might be coming towards a two. When you get towards the end there where you've got quite a bit of rotation or bending, that's when you're looking at getting a five.

Let's have a look at the shoulder postures. So we don't have all the interim ones here, we've just got one, four and a five. So generally arms down by the side, that would be quite a comfortable one, and anywhere pretty much up to bringing your arm up to shoulder height would be between the two to three. Once you start going above shoulder height there, as we can see the worker in the green shirt, that would probably be a four, reaching forward a four, and when you're getting to that end range of movement there, that's going to be a five.

Just having a look at the wrist postures. So again looking at that nice comfortable posture. Now with the wrist, the wrist is capable of quite a wide range of movements. So when you're looking at the task and you're looking at the wrist and you think the wrist could be in some awkward postures, have a look at some of the angles there or how much twisting or deviation you can see in the wrist there. Is it flexing or extending upwards? Is there bending? Look out for those things. As you can see in the pictures, they're some ideas of how you might rate some of the range of wrist movements.

Now we're having a look at the back postures, and again just to give you an idea, standing up straight would be a one, slightly bending forward a two, and beyond that would be getting up to a three. It's interesting to see sitting down is a four. That's because when we are in a seated posture it does increase the pressure in the spine. So sitting down would be a four.

Certainly bending forward to access something on the ground, we'd rate that as a five.

So the last body part we're going to look at to explore the awkward postures is the knees. So if you're in a full squat we'd be looking at a five for that posture. So just think about some of the manual tasks at your workplace. What kind of postures do they require workers to use?

So hopefully looking at some of these pictures has given you an idea of how you would expect to rate the different awkward postures on the PErforM tool.

So we're going to move on now to the next risk factor, and this is vibration. So we really are only talking about mechanical vibration here.

So mechanical vibration would be where your whole body is subject to vibration. So you might be sitting inside a piece of vibrating plant, for example operating a forklift all day. Now whole body vibration generally can cause lower back discomfort or lower back pain. Hand/arm vibration is specifically around using vibrating hand tools, so that can impact on the hand/arm area and it can cause fatigue, it can cause pain, numbness and tingling and some longer term injuries.

So a guidance around vibration is if it's coming up as a risk factor, it's probably worthwhile just spending your resources on trying to reduce the vibration. Have a look at the seating in your equipment. A lot of equipment today comes with really good seating, but if it's been around for a while, if it's quite getting on in age, you might need to replace the seating.

There is some guidance around vibration on the Safe Work Australia website. They have a couple of fact sheets, one on whole body and one on hand/arm vibration. But again with the PErforM worksheet, we're just identifying the presence of that vibration. It's not going to give you any further assessment on vibration. Again it's just such a complex area, you might just want to spend your resources on trying to reduce vibration if it is an issue for you.

Let's have a look at the next risk factor. I think I've skipped to repetition here on my slides, so we'll look at repetition first. So repetition is about repeating the same type of movements over and over again. So we're looking at a particular body part that is repeating the same movements over and over again, and that would become our work cycle. So that's how long it takes to repeat that movement.

Generally in the Code of Practice it talks about repetition, and it's going to become a problem if you have repetition and the task is less than 30 seconds. It's a problem if you're doing that repetition – sorry, the cycle time is less than 30 seconds. It's going to be a problem if you're doing that for an hour or more.

So you can see on the PErforM worksheet that it has some guidelines there on how to rate the time. So you really need to think about the cycle time and how long it's going for. Is it less than 30 seconds? Then that would be a three or a two. Now if you're getting higher than that, think about whether you'd put it in the four or a five. So a five for repetition would be a task that is less than ten seconds.

So we're going to play a video, and I'd just like you to watch this and think about the body part here as the wrist and hand, and just look at how repetitive this task is and try and think about how long the cycle time might be in this example.

(video playing)

Okay. So hopefully that's just given you an idea of that task, and I think you would have said it's just instant. Every movement where that worker picked up the tomato and put it on the other side, that was less than a second, so a very repetitive task. So we would rate that as a five for repetition.

Now let's have a look at duration. So when we're looking at duration, that's the amount of time that the worker is doing the task or essentially being exposed to those risk factors without a substantial break. So typically that would be how long they're doing that task for until they either maybe go for morning tea or smoko, or it might be before they change and do another task. So if it's about when they're going to do a different task, it does need to be a task that does use some different body parts, different types of movements.

So one of the limitations with the PErforM work tool, being such a simple tool, is that it won't take into account the cumulative effect of being exposed to risk factors from one task to another. So you do need to remember that the work activities being performed before and after the task that you're being assessed, you might need to take those into account, especially if they do have similar physical demands.

Okay. So we've had a look at those five risk factors. If you need more information you can go to the PErforM handbook that has more information on those risk factors in the context of using the PErforM worksheet. For even more detailed information, have a look at the Code of Practice for Hazardous Manual Tasks, and both of those documents are on our website.

I just want to highlight it is very important to examine the task for each risk factor and assess each risk factor independently. So if you're looking at a task and you think they're in quite an awkward posture and that would take a bit of force to hold, hang on a minute, you need to think about that task. It's an awkward posture, so you want to assess awkward posture, because force is something different. You would assess that under exertion. So we'll go through how to use the worksheet and do that assessment on some real tasks.

We're going to have a look at a practical session now. So I'd ask you to refer to your printed worksheet, and this should be for activity one or manual task one.
So the way this is going to work is we'll just have a look through Worksheet 1 and quickly look at some of the background information. Then I'm going to play the video of the task that we're assessing, and as we play it I'd like you to assess the body part. Identify the body parts that you think are primarily being affected by this task. So I'll give you some more instructions once we get up to that stage.

Let's have a look at the background on this task. So it's fish preparation, or more specifically scaling the fish. Now the workers have identified this as a problem. They're experiencing some strains and sprains in the wrists and hands. If we read on through the task description, we get an idea that it's highly repetitious. The workers may scale up to 600 fish a day, so using a handheld scaler. We've also got a bit of information on how long they're doing it for, and also that they go to other tasks like filleting or shucking, and that the shift workers do is eight hours. Probably the more important thing to highlight is that they're doing it for about two hours.

So we're going to play the video. We'll let it run through a couple of times, and I want you just to focus on identifying which body parts are primarily being affected by the task. So just focus on if you can identify the two main body parts. So I'll just give you a couple of minutes. So it will run through twice, and then we'll get back together and see what you thought.

(video playing)

Okay. So hopefully you would have been able to have a look at that video and start with identifying the body parts. I'm hoping most people would have been able to identify that the wrist or hand along with the right shoulder was the primary body parts being affected by this task. So we're going to focus on that part of the body. We couldn't see a lot of what was happening with the left hand side, so we will just focus on the right hand side.

Now what I want you to do is just looking at the wrist – we're going to play the video again for you – and think about how you might rate each of those risk factors, starting at exertion and going down, just for the wrist. So we'll play it through a couple more times. If you're sitting with somebody, you can have a chat with them, talk about it, how you might rate that. So we'll only look at wrist. After that we will come back and go through shoulder. But just go through all the risk factors for wrist, and don't go any further. Don't do controls.

I'll get the video up now and give you a couple of minutes to do that task.

(video playing)

Okay. So hopefully that was enough time for most people to start thinking about the wrist. I'm just going to go through how you might have started assessing that. Now you should have probably about a four looking at the exertion for the wrist. Again we're not there doing the task, so we do have to make a few assumptions, but it does look like he's using a lot of force to use that tool. We can also see in the background information that there is quite a bit of grip involved in holding that tool.

If you also think about that work environment, it is going to be quite wet and slippery and that's going to increase the grip. So that's going to impact on the force required. So looking at the awkwardness of that posture, the wrist was in some moderate kinds of awkward postures. So it certainly wasn't neutral, but it probably wasn't towards the extreme range of movement. There was no vibration in that task. Remember we're talking about mechanical vibration, so definitely no vibration there. Now the duration you should have had over two hours. It does give you that information in Worksheet 1. Now the repetition. Each time he moved his hand and did that scaling action was one work cycle. So that's coming up as less than ten seconds.

Okay. So now hopefully everybody has something similar to that. I'm going to go through the video again, just give you a bit more time, and I want you to rate the right shoulder. But you won't have as long this time. We'll just go through the video once, and see how you go with the shoulder.

(video playing)

Again I hope that was enough time for most people to complete that part. Don't worry if it's not, because we will be talking through that now. So for the shoulder, again we're coming up with quite a high exertion, so a four. We can see a lot of force being used there for the shoulder.

We are coming up with about a three for that awkward posture for the shoulder. Look, there is some internal rotation as the elbow lifts up. Some people might want to go a little bit higher, but happy with around a three or a four for the shoulder there. Certainly no vibration. Now again for the duration, it's going to be a five. We've got over two hours. You'll find that when you do your task assessments that for all the body parts the duration would generally be the same. Again the cycle time for the shoulder is also less than ten seconds.

So hopefully you've got something similar to this on the worksheets you've completed, giving a profile for this task that looks somewhat like that. You can see that we have used the red body part for the shoulder and matched that to rating the risk factors, and then the blue for the wrist.

So when we look at controls, which we're not doing today, but you would focus on the risk factors that are coming up in the four or the five. So yes, this is definitely coming up with some fours and fives there.

Now we're going to in the next few minutes just go through another scenario for you to practice again.

So again I'll play the video for you, and I want you just to identify the primary body parts that are being affected. You might see more, and actually in this task I think you'll see other issues too, but please just focus on the physical risk factors.

So this is going to be activity two, so get that worksheet handy. There's some background information on Worksheet 1. I think in particular I'd like to highlight for you under task description, if you go down to the general description, some important things to note are the number of trolleys that the workers do tend to unload. So this task is about unloading linen trolleys. Then when we go down we can see some more information on that task. So we can see that there are some above shoulder postures when we look at postures, the worker says they feel it, so there's a bit of discomfort the worker's reporting in their arms and upper body when they're unloading it. Looking at the repetition, we've actually got a time there. It says it takes about 45 seconds to unload each trolley.

So I'll show the video. I just want you now just to identify two main body parts that are being affected by this task please.

(video playing)

Okay. So looking at your worksheet now, Worksheet 2, hopefully everybody has identified the shoulders. So we're going to assess the shoulders together. We could see a lot of movement there with the shoulders. Also we're going to assess the lower back.

So I hope everybody's comfortable with that, but that's definitely where we would be focusing our assessment. We'll assess the shoulders and back separately. Now I'll play the video again, and this time I want you to go through the matrix and assess the risk factors for both body parts. So I'll give you probably two to three minutes, a little bit of time. Watch the video and see how you go. If you can assess the shoulders and then assess the lower back for each of those risk factors.

Remember the information on the Worksheet 1 can really help you when it comes to assessing the duration and the repetition of the task.

So we might pop that video up now.

(video playing)

Okay. So let's have a look at the shoulders to start off with. So we would have gone with a four for the exertion for the shoulders, and this would really be because the worker does seem to be struggling sometimes with some of the linen. You could have wet towels, the linen could be tangled together, so that would require a bit more force to pull those bundles of linen up, and also when they're throwing the linen up into the van. So a fair bit of exertion there.

Awkward postures for the shoulders, again a four. Especially the worker is going quite above shoulder height when he's throwing up the linen. No vibration for this task. Duration – look, we looked at less than ten minutes, because we could see that it took about 45 seconds to unload each trolley. I think it was less than that in this example. They might only do at the most five trolleys at one hotel, so it's going to be about five minutes at the most. Definitely a one for duration. Quite repetitive, so we looked at a five for repetition.

So how did you go with that?

Let's have a look at the lower back. Again a four with the force for the lower back, and now we've come up with a four for the posture of the lower back too. When you think about how far he was bending forward, now it did vary but particularly at the end of the task as he's getting towards the bottom of the tub, it's more of an awkward posture for the back. Again no vibration, and the duration comes up as a one. For the back it's also going to be quite a repetitive task.

So this would have given you a profile like that for your tasks. We do have some risk factors coming up in the four and five, so definitely a hazardous manual task.

Now we're not going to go through the controls today. That's all we wanted to cover for today's session. We've talked about how to identify your problem manual tasks and what the risk factors are, what they might look like, how you can identify those, and also shown you how to complete Worksheet 1 and partially complete Worksheet 2.

If you need more information on those please go to the handbook, and you can also get more information in the Hazardous Manual Tasks Code of Practice.

Next week we are going to be looking at strategies on how to develop your controls following on from this step. We'll be looking at how important it is to review and evaluate the whole program, and just I guess summarising what's needed to implement the PErforM program successfully. So if you do want to join us next week, and I recommend you do so that you do get the final session on the PErforM workshop, please make sure that you have registered.

If you have any questions, post them there on the Q&A box and I'll follow those up later for you.

Thank you.

Webinar three: Developing and implementing controls as part of a PErforM risk assessment

The third webinar wraps up the PErforM webinar series by discussing:

  • strategies on how to develop hazardous manual task controls
  • the importance of review and evaluation
  • a summary of the resources required to implement the PErforM program.

Webinar three resources

  1. PErforM risk assessment tool (DOC, 0.28 MB)

Webinar three film

Download a copy of this film (ZIP, 10MB)

PErforM Workshop
Part 3: Control Development and Implementation
Presented on 4 May 2016

Presented by:

Michelle James
Principal Advisor Ergonomics

Michelle James:

Good afternoon. Welcome to our webinar today. My name is Michelle James, and today is the last webinar in the PErforM workshop webinar series.

So before we get into the webinar, I had a couple of questions last week in Part 2, and I thought they were really good questions just to address for everybody.

So the first question was when you're rating posture – so this is in relation to using the PErforM worksheet to assess a manual task – when you're rating posture do you assess the workers' actual posture, or what posture they should be using if the task is performed correctly?

So in answer to that question I would say that whenever you're doing the PErforM risk assessment, you want to get an accurate reflection of what the worker is actually exposed to. You're not going to get an idea of that if you just go by what they should be doing or the safe work method. You really need to assess what the worker is actually doing. Whether it's the posture or the force, you really want to get that accurate assessment.

The second question was around when you're doing the PErforM assessments and you notice other issues like – and this probably came from our videos that we ran last week – but when you notice other issues like the need for eye protection or even hearing protection, or there could be exposure to biological hazards, slips, trips and falls, all those other kinds of issues. Do you need to include that in the PErforM risk assessment?

So the answer to that is the PErforM risk assessment is focused only on the physical risk factors for a hazardous manual task. It does not incorporate those other things. However there is no harm in putting them down, and if you do notice them you certainly need to address them. You can put them on the information section of the worksheet around that task, but you do need to know that PErforM isn't designed to pick up on those things. But certainly no harm recording them if you identify them.

Okay. So we will be looking at developing controls today, and some information around implementing the PErforM program. We plan to run the session for about 45/50 minutes today, and hopefully we'll have some time for questions at the end of the session. If we do run out of time, I'm happy for you to post your questions and I will try to get back to you over the next few days.

So over the last two parts, so the last two webinars, we've discussed why it's made good business sense to manage manual tasks, and we've also highlighted that there's a lot of tools, ergonomic tools out there, and PErforM is just one of a number of ways that you can approach managing your problem manual tasks.

But what sets PErforM apart is that it is a really simplified approach, and it has been successful because of this in a diverse range of workplaces.

Last week in particular we focused on developing an understanding of the risk factors and how to complete the PErforM risk assessment part. Back in week one we introduced you to this model that's on your screen there, and these are the critical elements that PErforM requires to be implemented successfully.

So we talked a lot about the items on the left, about having the workers involved, management commitment and the site champion. We're going to be focusing a bit more on the middle part of that fat blue arrow today. So today's session is really about developing the controls and implementing the PErforM program.

The last half we are really going to wrap up this PErforM series by giving you some really specific guidance on implementing the PErforM program in your workplace.

Now I have had a few questions on getting access to the resources. So at the end, just for a couple of minutes – and I did this in session one – but I was just going to quickly recap and show you again on our website where you can go to find our PErforM resources if anybody has missed that.

Please do complete the survey at the end of the webinar today as well. It's such valuable feedback for us to improve these sessions for you.

So as I said, last week we talked about the risk factors and assessing your problem manual tasks using the worksheet. So the next step is to develop controls.

So once you've identified what problem manual tasks you have, how do you go about prioritising which tasks to target first? Where are you going to allocate that first share of the resources? So that's a pretty important decision, especially when you're starting off with the program. So there's just some tips there on the screen for you to consider. You might want to make it high priority to improve tasks where you have had injuries associated with them, and you might need to look at your injury records to find a bit more out about that.

Looking at the seriousness of the consequences around the injuries, if they are quite a high profile amongst the workers, if there's a lot of complaints or a lot of feedback about those particular tasks. When you're looking at the PErforM worksheet, if they are coming up very high in those risk factors, particularly if they're coming up very high in force or repetition and duration, and also if you've got a link to some productivity problems around those tasks, it might make good sense then to prioritise those tasks.

If those tasks are being done by a lot of workers or if they're being done a lot of the time, then you're going to have a lot of people exposed. So you do want to address those as well.

Now here is a really important tip. When you're first implementing your controls and identifying which tasks to start off with, we really recommend that you focus on controlling the less complex manual tasks first. Implement some easy solutions initially, and that way you can get a few runs on the board early on.

So prioritising your tasks is something that should be discussed within the work team. The supervisors can discuss that with the health and safety officer, and management should also be involved. The other important role of management is in overseeing the action plan, to work through those tasks, and help to plan the implementation of controls. Again controls that are cheap, quick and easy to implement as well as addressing those high priority tasks should be done first. That's really going to get the benefit of getting the ball rolling. People are going to see this program is actually making a change in our workplace, and they're going to start feeling quite confident in the program.

So now you've identified which tasks you're going to address, you need to decide what actions need to be taken to control the risks that you've identified. So it's at this point that we find a lot of people aren't sure where to start. There may not be any solution in sight. So developing controls for your problem manual tasks is just like solving any other problem. It's a journey okay. So you may not know what the destination is going to look like, but it's still a process that you'll go through and you'll get there eventually.

You know you have a problem, you've identified a problem manual task. Once you've identified the risk factors using PErforM, you've already taken the first step towards solving the problem.

So you may not know what the solution is at this stage, and that's okay. When it comes to developing controls, you just need to follow some common problem solving approaches.

So the first step is identifying the problem. So you've done that with using the PErforM worksheet. The next step is to explore what information is out there and try and create some ideas around the solutions from that, and we'll focus on that in the next few slides.

The next step is selecting the best of those ideas and then building or testing that idea, and finally evaluating the results of that.

So the PErforM approach to risk management of hazardous manual tasks is in line with the legislation. It follows the hierarchy of control, and this can also give you a really good starting point or a strategy to follow.

Let's have a look at the PErforM worksheet. So if you have a look at Worksheet 2, down there under the matrix you can see it's got risk controls. I just want to highlight there it says design control options, so it's really guiding you through the hierarchy of control. So that's great.

Now I know there's a wide range of listeners today and some people may not be familiar with the hierarchy of control, so I'll just quickly provide a brief overview of that now.

Basically the hierarchy of control is about starting off with the most effective way to manage the risk. The Workplace Health and Safety legislation requires that the person conducting business or undertaking to work through the hierarchy of control when they're managing risks. So this means that the person conducting the business, or it could be the employer, must always aim to eliminate the hazard. That's the most effective control.

If the elimination is not reasonably practicable, then they can minimise the risk as far as is reasonably practicable by doing things like substituting, isolating or introducing engineering controls.

You can see that administrative controls are Level 3. They're right at the bottom. So your admin controls should really only be used when there's no other practical control measure available. So they're really a last resort. They can be used as an interim measure until a more effective way of controlling the risk can be implemented, and they're also actually quite useful as a supporting type of control to support higher level control measures. For example if you brought in a new mechanical lifting aid – so that would be a Level 2 control – then you could use an admin control like training your workers in how to use that lifting aid to support that higher level control.

So people do often ask about the cost when it comes to implementing controls and what the expectations are around that.

So yes the cost of controlling a risk can be taken into account, and it's part of determining what is reasonably practicable. But it can't be used as a reason for doing nothing, and the key thought there is whether the cost is grossly disproportionate to the risk. So yes it can be considered, but it's certainly not an excuse for doing nothing.

We also often hear people ask us how much can people lift or what is a safe way to lift? We say the question really should be why are you lifting at all? So can the lift be eliminated by changing the workflow or the system of work, or bringing in engineering controls such as mechanical lifting aids? So you can see that's just illustrating that it's always important to start at the top, at Level 1, and then work your way down.

So this concept, the hierarchy of control, should also be part of training that workers are given so that they can develop controls in line with the hierarchy.

So how do you actually develop control ideas?

So this stage of your problem solving for manual tasks is all about exploring what's out there, using creative thought processes, engaging with your workers, and activities that are going to generate some possible control ideas along the way.

Let's just have a look at each of these tips that are up on your screen.

So the first one is linking the control to the risk factor.

Now when a manual task risk factor has been identified, so you've done your PErforM worksheet, you have identified some risk factors, it's important to go to the next step, which is identifying what is actually causing the risk factor.

So the cause of the risk factor is what we call the source of the risk. So you can see on your screen there's four key sources of risk, and in order to eliminate or minimise the risks the controls should be aimed at these four areas. So you've got your design or layout of your work areas, the nature or size – so it's really about the characteristics of what's being handled and how it's being handled – you've got the system of work and the work environment.

So these areas have a lot of ideas and information under them, and the Hazardous Manual Task Code of Practice has a lot of information that you can go and read about these areas. You'll probably die of boredom if I go through all of that with you now, so what I'm going to do is just give you a really quick overview of each of those now.

But the key point is these are the things that are going to be causing those manual task risk factors. So if you can fix these things, then you're going to take away the problems that are affecting the body.

So let's have a look at the work area design or the layout of the work area. So this is where the job is based. It's where the work is being done. So it could be the workbench, it could be the seating, it could be the workstation, it could even be the back of a ute where the storage area is or even in the cab of the vehicle.

So if you've got a good area layout, it's going to reduce exertion, reach distance, twisting and bending, things like that. You can see a couple of pictures there we've got. At the top it's a very cluttered storage area, so obviously it's going to be quite awkward for someone to get in there and access to remove that stuff. They can't really get in there to fill up their trolley because of the layout.

Underneath that we've got a really nice orderly work area layout, and we can see the aisles are wide enough so you can push a trolley through there. So a good work area layout does have suitable adequate space.

Think about having good working heights that are suitable for the task. Maybe have them adjustable to suit all different workers. Having frequently used items within easy reach.

The next source of risk that we can consider is all about the object that's being handled, so how heavy it is and how big it is and how many times it's being handled. So if you can reduce the size of a load or reduce the weight, make it smaller, that can help reduce the exertion.

Conversely if you make thing a lot larger, for example order things in bulk quantities, then they might need to be managed by mechanical means. So that's another way, just by considering changing the size of the load.

So you can also think about possibly changing the way the load is handled by implementing mechanical aids. So that's something that comes under this heading. There's such a wide range of different mechanical aids out there.

You can also think about tool design. So the tool handle can impact on the risk factors. It can cause awkward postures, it can cause increased grip if it's an awkward kind of design. Maintenance is an issue. For example if you have knives that are blunt, then obviously you do need a lot more force to cut through. So maintaining tools as well. So giving consideration to the nature, size, weight is another important source of risk.

So the system of work is the third area, and that's just all about how the work has been organised. It's how long the shifts go for, it's how many workers are rostered on, and are there enough workers to cope with the work schedule.

So you want to try and plan in tasks. So having good work organisation will help provide postural variety, give workers flexibility around their tasks and times. It's going to help minimise the time pressures they're under and the stress. It will allow for a consultative process. It will help you minimise peaks in your workload, because you'll have enough staff on for peak periods, or maybe you can rearrange the material flow through the workplace.

Setting up maintenance schedules can also be part of the system of work, and thinking about training workers. That's another part of the system of work.

Let's have a look at the last area which is work environment. So your work environment, that can be a source of risk for sprain and strain injuries, or it can cause risk factors in so many ways. You can think about the vibration, the impact that can have on the worker. That can be exacerbated by poor surfaces if workers are driving on those. If workers are pushing trolleys on uneven floor surfaces or there are lips or ramps, that's going to increase the force, or the sudden force required to get a trolley moving. It can make it very difficult to use trolleys and mechanical aids.

Lighting can impact on posture. Workers can sometimes crane their necks to try and get away from glare, or they can get in closer if the lighting is quite poor. Cold environments and windy environments can all increase the grip force and the exertion required, and again heat and humidity and things like that, if workers have slippery hands, those things can also start to cause some risk factors.

So we just have a really quick overview of those four sources of risk.

Now I just want you to have a look at the four manual tasks that are pictured on the screen, and we've already identified the risk factor in the task for you, but I want you to think about what is causing that risk factor. So for example number one, we can see the worker is leaning over a linen tub and we can see that it's quite an awkward posture that she's in. So what is the source of risk? So what is causing her awkward posture?

So it's the design or the layout of the work area. So it's because of the way she's got the tub set up in front of the machine and she has to reach over. So it's the way she's got her work area laid out.

So I'd just like you to have a look at the other three tasks and think about the risk factor that's there for you. What is causing that risk factor? So for two, what is causing that forceful exertion? So we have a worker that's pushing a wheelchair up a ramp.

So we would say it's the nature of the load, so it's actually the weight of the person and the wheelchair itself and the way that's it's being manually handled, and it's also another source of risk there. It's about the work environment. It's the slope of that wheelchair ramp.

The next one we have a worker who is sorting tomatoes on a conveyor belt.

So the big risk factor there is repetition. So what's the source of risk for that?

So we would say it's the system of work. You've got the speed of the conveyor belt. The worker doesn't have a lot of control of that, but the size and the speed of it is bringing through so many tomatoes so quickly, that's causing the worker to have to move very quickly.

The last one we've got a worker lifting and pushing a wheelbarrow. So the main risk factor there is your forceful exertion, and what's supporting that? Well it's the work environment, because they're pushing it around on an uneven ground surface. So just initiating to get that wheelbarrow going, especially if there are rocks or rubble around, and it's also the nature of the load. So it's the weight of whatever is in that wheelbarrow. It could be wet gravel. So it's going to be the nature of the load as well.

So that's just giving you an idea. If you can start focusing your controls on trying to reduce those sources of risk, then that's a great starting point, and that's going to stop the risk factor from impacting on the body.

So now the next tip is about consulting with workers and others. So this is pretty important. Given that PErforM is all about participative ergonomics, consulting with workers also brings benefits like you're gaining their commitment or getting their buy in into the program, and you're also being able to tap in to their expert job knowledge.

So the way of consulting with workers, you could do it through brainstorming.

Really look for all possible control options to reduce the risk for the task that you're assessing. You need to make a rule with the work team that you can go outside the square and any idea is okay. Don't dismiss ideas at the brainstorming stage.

Can I really encourage you not to be afraid of the brainstorming process? It can really be a great way to get the creative juices flowing. Generally most workers are realistic, and they are the ones that we see time and time again at workplaces. They're the ones that come up with very simple and cost effective controls. Starting off with a real pie in the sky kind of idea, while it may not be realistic, it might be the inspiration for a simpler but very effective control.

ust remember coming up with the controls is like a journey. It's a process. Now one organisation that used PErforM, really had a lot of success with it, commented that getting their workers to think outside the box was actually one of their biggest challenges. Workers really did hold back. So that might be something you might need to think about. Depending on your workplace and the people and the nature of the people there, this might be something that could take a bit of effort.

It's also useful to discuss with the workers alternative ways of doing the job that there could be. Other parts of consulting with the workers and looking for different ways, you could also run surveys and ask for feedback that way. The other people you can talk to to help identify different ways could be your engineers, manufacturers and designers, consultants, and they could be ones to help get some ideas going.

You could look at similar tasks in your organisation and see how they're being done. They might have a solution or a control. Now if it is being controlled, it might not be a perfect fit for your task, but it could spark the idea for the solution and you might just need to make some modifications to suit the specific context of your manual task.

You can also have a look around and find out what other workplaces or what other organisations are doing. Talking to your work teams, they may have colleagues in other organisations – supervisors, work colleagues, or even getting in touch with industry associations that do similar work.

Talking to suppliers is actually a really helpful way again to find out how to control a particular issue. They might be able to suggest something. They may be able to come up with a modification or a new product. Suppliers or manufacturers may already have addressed this particular problem for another one of their customers, so they might just be able to quickly refer you on to the solution.

Now I've just got an example where an organisation was able to get the supplier to provide the solution for them. So it was an organisation in Brisbane that imported parts from China, and they came in these shipping containers and the workers needed to manually unload the boxes. They were about 12 kilos each, so it took the workers the best part of their shift each day. You can see that there would have been some exertion, definitely awkward postures, particularly when they're reaching up the top and at ground level, and also a lot of repetition and duration.

So they've identified those risk factors in their PErforM worksheet. So then when they've gone to controls, they've been actually able to eliminate this. They already did have forklifts, but they were able to approach the supplier and ask if the supplier could palletise this product.

So when the product arrives it can be unloaded with a forklift, which is eliminating that manual task for this organisation. Now this is one of the case studies we have on our website, and it also has some cost benefit information in there. So this control was no cost to the organisation. The supplier did it for them, and they've actually gained over $20,000 a year savings in just relation to the productivity savings.

Just getting back to developing controls, we really recommend that you trial your controls before you implement them, so if you can build a mock up in a certain area of the workplace or if you can hire the equipment you're thinking about using before you commit to purchasing it. You never really know how it's going to go in real life, in the workplace, given all the other variables, so it's always a good idea to trial it first.

So we're just going to cover some general guidance now about once you've developed your control ideas, how do you then move on to implementing them into your workplace.

So it's important to think about preparing an action plan, and we do have a template for that in the facilitator's manual for PErforM. It's available on our website, and I'll show you where at the end of the session. So you can develop an action plan. You can think about short, medium and long term controls. So you might have a really great control, but it might be 18 months or so off depending on the budget. But you do need to do something about that problem task, so you could implement some short term controls in the interim.

Of course when you bring in the controls you need to develop or update your safe work procedures, and retrain and supervise your staff in those procedures. Of course it's important even though you may have trialled the control to keep monitoring it once it's in place, just to make sure that it is working effectively. This step is also part of the risk management legislation, so it's important to make sure that that control isn't reducing the risk factors. So you could re-evaluate it using the PErforM worksheet. You also want to make sure that it isn't introducing other risk factors.

So it may not just be physical risk factors for manual tasks, it could be introducing noise or some other issues. So you want to make sure you evaluate it to make sure it's not introducing another hazard.

It's also important for the PErforM program to be sustained. So you don't want to just have a short lived program, you want an ongoing program. So it's important for the PErforM process to make sure that the controls that have been implemented are working effectively. So to do this you need to make sure that your work teams that have been involved in assessing and implementing them, are still able to get together on a regular basis.

So they need to be able to have that ongoing communication where they can go through this monitoring stage.

So if you're the coordinator or the champion for the PErforM program or the trainer, you're going to be the vital person that is driving that ongoing commitment to PErforM.

We have a controls decision matrix. So if you look in the resource manual in Appendix 8 there's a template there that you can use. So you might find the work teams will come up with a lot of ideas on controls, so this could be a useful template that you can document those and then progress those ideas to management for the approval process.

Another really useful resource that can help in putting forward a business case around controls to management, particularly if you are looking at a control that there might be some initial cost associated with, is the injury cost calculator which is on our website. That has some example costs of potential injuries, so that information can be helpful when you're looking at a three or four thousand dollar overhead crane or a 20 or 30 thousand dollar injury. So that can help inform management of the costs that could be saved.

Now we're just going to have a look at training, because I have mentioned that part of the PErforM program is to provide training to the workers. Once you've implemented controls, you also need to provide training to the workers. So we are talking about very specific training. We're talking about training on the manual task risk management process, so how to use the PErforM worksheets, what the risk factors are, the control hierarchy and how to develop controls in line with that.

You will also need to think about how you're going to train the workers in the new work procedure once the controls are implemented, and how workers can also then go on to report any future problems or maintenance issues around those controls.

Okay. So the last part of our webinar is about preparing your organisation for using or implementing the PErforM program. So you can see we've broken it down into four stages up there on the screen for you.

So Stage 1 is really all about planning. This is where you want to make sure that you do have that management commitment, commitment to the program and commitment to providing the resources for allowing workers to go offline, have the training, be involved in PErforM activities, and commitment to the resources to provide approved controls. This is where you might find some of the resources on our website helpful. I mentioned the injury cost calculator. We've also got those PErforM case studies which highlight some cost benefits real organisations have experienced as a result of addressing a particular task and implementing a control.

Stage 1 is also where you'd identify the key people that would be involved. Who's going to be the PErforM coordinator? Do you have multiple sites? So you might need more than one coordinator. Who are the trainers going to be? Who are the other people that need to be involved? Are they designers or engineers or contractors?

You also want to think about which business areas you want to target. Now we recommend that when you're starting to implement PErforM that you don't try and roll it out across your whole organisation all at once. Just start off small. So you might want to consider running a pilot. So identify a suitable area of the business to run that pilot. So it might be an area that has quite a few hazardous manual tasks or an area that has some significant sprain and strain claims.

You also want to try and pick an area where the people are interested in participating in the program.

The planning stage also includes developing your communication strategy, so how are you going to communicate about the program with the workers, between management, what system is going to be in place there. Also you're implementation plan about your action plan, who's going to do what when, what's the decision making process going to be around the controls, who's going to review them, and your evaluation strategy. So it's really important for the sustainability of the program to keep evaluating the PErforM program. So you need to think about how you're going to evaluate it, and I will talk a little bit more about some ideas there shortly.

Stage 2 is really critical, because the aim of this stage is all about consulting and engaging with the workforce. So this will really be the fulfilment of that, starting that communication strategy. So it's letting them know all about the program, how it works, and the reasons why it's being implemented.

It might be where you start looking at delivering your training sessions as well. So Stage 3 is where you'll start doing the pilot okay? So this is where you're going to start doing your PErforM activities, the workers will be doing their assessments and coming up with some controls, and hopefully you'll be able to get some of those implemented. This is where you might be able to identify that you have had some manual task controlled. Maybe you can identify even some productivity savings or decreased injuries. So it's really good to be able to record that and report on that. You should have some learnings as well that you can also use.

Stage 4 is when you're thinking about rolling it out to the other parts of the business. So your learnings from Stage 3 is going to help inform what you do in Stage 4, and again at Stage 4 you'd be doing more planning and going back to what you did in Stage 1 to roll it out.

We just always like to make a comment about management leadership, because it's one of the really critical parts of whether PErforM will be successful or not. In fact a lot of research has found that management support and leadership are really strong influencing factors in effecting health and safety outcomes in a workplace. At Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, we found that good management, leadership and support is critical for the success of PErforM.

So up on the screen we've got some thoughts on how management can actively support the PErforM program. They can do this by being involved in the PErforM activities, going to work sites, maybe getting involved in PErforM training sessions at times, looking at some of the problem tasks or looking at some of the controls that have been implemented. If the drive for the program is coming from the top, if management is seeing this as a really important thing, it is going to be so much more effective.

So when you're conducting your PErforM activities, so you're starting to implement the PErforM program, we've mentioned you might want to consider a pilot. So do start off small, and try and pick a group of people or a work area that is receptive and open to the idea of trialling this program. With your work teams, you might want to identify about eight to ten people is probably a good size. Identify those people to participate in the training. Think about how you're going to identify them.

Some organisations ask the people to nominate themselves. That's great. They're getting people who are really keen then. But you also might want to identify people for a variety of reasons, maybe people who actually are involved in performing some high risk manual tasks that you're aware of. It might be a team that is experiencing quite a high number of sprain or strain injuries. Of course if they're really willing or keen to participate in the program, then that's a good reason to include them.

You need to think about how you're going to deliver that team training, and it's great if you can include supervisors and managers as part of those teams and then they can be involved in that training as well. The work teams training is an essential part of the PErforM program, and in that team training you can develop it based on the resources that are on our website, but feel free to tailor it to your organisational needs.

The key things that you need to include in that training are information about risk management, so the hierarchy of control, the risk factors, so the PErforM risk factors, how to use the PErforM risk assessment worksheet and how to come up with control ideas.

Just a couple of questions there for you to think about when you're developing the training for your workplace. There are so many different sized employers, different types of organisations, and they've all implemented PErforM in different ways. It's really interesting from my point of view to see we have our ideal model of the way we expect PErforM to be delivered, but at the end of the day organisations take that model and they tailor it to suit the needs of their organisation and what's going to be the best fit for them, and it works so well when it's done that way.

So really think about what the PErforM training might look like at your workplace. What would fit? Would you do a single session with some follow up assessments? Would you train everybody? Would you just train a couple of small teams? Will you put in place a committee to help roll it out? You could also do it in toolbox sessions, so break the training up into say three or four shorter sessions, kind of like we've done with these webinars. Think about how you can make the training engaging for your workers.

Okay. So the last really important area for us to think about is evaluating the program. So they say that what is measured is managed. So for the program to be more than a flash in the pan, if you really want to see some ongoing benefits and a sustained program, it's so important to measure what's happening and to then be able to report that to management. So you need to think about how you're going to do this. How does your organisation currently measure? Does it rely on lagging indicators or more proactive measures?

Your lagging indicators don't often reflect the cause of injury, and they don't often reflect the level of the risk. You can also have a lot of underreporting of incidents for a variety of reasons. So we do really recommend that you focus on positive performance indicators to assess the success of implementing PErforM. So this might be things like assessing the number of work teams that have been set up or the number of people that have had PErforM training, maybe the number of PErforM risk assessments or tasks that have been assessed or the number of controls that have been implemented.

Some of those indicators could also be incorporated into KPIs for management and for sites, and that way it's really going to help drive people to try and achieve them as goals. Over time organisations do certainly use their lagging indicators. So they look at their claims data to show the success of the program, and we've had organisations report significant reductions in their sprain and strain claims, for example the Council of City of Gold Coast reporting a 60 percent reduction in their claims around manual handling related injuries about 12 to 18 months after implementing the PErforM program for the particular branch that implemented it. So your lagging indicators can be useful over a period of time.

So that's pretty much the content we needed to cover for the PErforM workshop. From here it's really up to you to decide if you want your workplace to use the PErforM program. There's definitely gains to be achieved with the PErforM program, not just around manual tasks, but it can provide overall improvements to culture and communication across the organisation. There are some first steps that you might want to consider to get the ball rolling.

Now I did say I wanted to quickly go through where the resources are on our website. So there's just a lot of the resources that we have. We have the PowerPoints. They're templates, so you can download those off the website – they're on the top left there – and tailor them to your needs. We also have for management – it's not just for management, but it can be useful just to give them a brief overview of the PErforM program. So it's just some frequently asked questions on PErforM. We have the PErforM worksheets there available on our website.

The two key documents, especially if you're implementing the program, are the PErforM Resource Manual for Workplace Trainers – and that's really for people who are implementing the program – and then we have the PErforM Handbook, which is on the right. So both of those are available on our website, and you can see where our website address is up there on the slide as well.

So I'm just going to go and show you where they are on our website. So if you go to worksafe.qld this is pretty much the page that you should come to. Then you want to click on 'Injury prevention & safety' and if you look below that, then that brings up a number of options. So click on 'Hazardous manual tasks' and when you click on that you should get hazardous manual tasks there with some more options. If you look below that, then you'll see 'Participative Ergonomics for Manual Tasks'. So that's the PErforM page, and when you go to the PErforM page there's a number of resources there. If you just look at the 'PErforM resources' that will bring up all the resources that I've talked about.

I'm just going to zoom out so I can show you the other side of the screen. On the right hand side is the No Sprains Big Gains link. So that's the film that is one of the good PErforM resources. It can be used as a training tool in your workplace. So you can download that, and that's a great way of showing workers how to use the tool, and it also helps explain the risk factors as well if you wanted to incorporate that into your PErforM training.

So we do have a little bit of time for a couple of questions, and I'll just give you a minute if you wanted to post any and then I'll get back to you.

Okay. So we have just a couple of questions just addressing questions around whether this will be put on the website. Yes it will. All three webinars in the PErforM workshop series will be put on the website in the near future. There's a bit of a process they need to go through, but they'll certainly be put up on the website and you can use that as an ongoing resource.

I do have a question from someone in the construction industry who's asking about I guess the culture within the industry, and how the culture of the industry is a bit of a barrier to addressing hazardous manual tasks.

In answer to that, that's a pretty common barrier that a lot of workplaces do bring up as an issue. It's not an easy one to address, and I see a number of ways to start going about it, but it's certainly not something that's going to happen quickly. One of the things you can do and I see, if you're the person in your organisation who is going to try to implement the PErforM program, your role could be to try to persuade management to see the benefits around implementing a program like PErforM or addressing their hazardous manual tasks. We have a lot of resources to help you with that, particularly those that demonstrate the benefits of leadership on our website. They have a lot of benefits for organisations, not just as far as meeting compliance, but a lot of cost benefits as well. We have the cost benefits information as well which you can use.

So I think also highlighting that we have projects where we are as Workplace Health and Safety Queensland trying to raise awareness of the importance of safety leadership, which is going to start influencing the culture, and projects like that will only help over the long term. But it is a problem out there and we recognise that.

I've just got a question about when the webinars are on the website. I think we should be able to email everybody a link who's been a participant in the webinars once they're up on the website. So that should be fine. You can always check back on the website. It would be promoted there. But we will certainly try to email everybody a link so that you know that they're up and running.

Please do fill in the survey at the end of the webinar. It's really great for improving the session. Thanks so much for joining us today.

Thank you.

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