Manual Task Risk Assessments and Action Plans

What are the aims?

Pinnacle Workplace Consultants' approach is, and has always been, outcome driven. We want to make a difference in the workplace and assist organisations to achieve excellence in health and safety.
The aim of the Risk Assessment is to identify and assess the level of musculoskeletal risk associated with this task and to develop a list of potential control strategies which could be implemented to eliminate or reduce the level of risk in accordance with the Work, Health and Safety Regulations – SA (2012), Chapter 3, Part 1, 34-38 and Chapter 4, Part 2, 60.

Risk Identification

The first step of a Risk Management process is to identify those tasks which have the potential to cause musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). A hazardous manual task means a task that requires a person to lift, lower, push, pull, carry or otherwise move, hold or restrain any person, animal or thing involving one or more of the following:
  • Repetitive or sustained force;
  • High or sudden force;
  • Repetitive movement;
  • Sustained or awkward posture;
  • Exposure to vibration.

The following Manual Task Risk Identification process could be conducted:
  • Consult with the workers about tasks which are difficult to perform, are very tiring, awkward or cause discomfort;
  • Review available information, such as but not limited to, records of workplace injuries and incidents, inspection reports and any workers compensation claims made for MSDs.
  • Observe workers perform the manual work demands;
  • Consult with Supervisors/Managers about the key high risk areas within the workplace

Risk Assessment
Following the identification of a hazardous task, a risk assessment is conducted to examine the characteristics of the task in more detail and to assess whether the forces, movements and postures are undertaken in such a way that they give rise to the risk of MSDs.

Assessments are conducted with the assistance of workers in order to gain a thorough knowledge of the tasks and the associated manual task risks, as well as encourage 'buy-in' and ownership of the process and product.

The evaluation of risk factors is undertaken in reference to those hazards outlined in the Hazardous Manual Tasks Code of Practice (2011). This includes assessing relevant matters that may contribute to a musculoskeletal disorder including:
  • Postures, movements, forces and vibration relating to the hazardous manual task;
  • The duration and frequency of the hazardous manual task; 
  • Workplace environmental conditions that may affect the hazardous manual task or the worker performing it; 
  • The design of the work area; 
  • The layout of the workplace; 
  • The systems of work used; and
  • The nature, size, weight or number of persons, animals or things involved in carrying out the hazardous manual task.

Risk Controls

At the completion of the Risk Assessment, the Pinnacle Consultant will investigate potential risk controls and include these in the document together with other strategies raised during the Workplace Improvement Sessions (if facilitated). These proposed strategies (based on the hierarchy of risk control) play a pivotal role in reducing long term musculoskeletal risk. Refer to Workplace Improvement Sessions for more information.

It is then recommended, that in accordance with legislation, implemented control measures are reviewed, and if necessary revised to make sure they are effective.