Tracy Secombe and Mary Hill are the working directors of Safe Work Partners Pty Ltd, trading as Safe Work Practice. Tracy and Mary have a 'hands-on' approach to upholding the excellent reputation of Safe Work Practice by meeting with clients personally and getting new projects up and running.
Over the past 16 years, Mary Hill and Tracy Secombe have developed a model of injury prevention that works most effectively when all components are implemented. However, we can develop a program to suit all types of company requirements and budgets.
In our experience, as industrial physiotherapists, factors contributing to strains and sprains include (but are not limited to):
- A person's physical capacity does not match the physical demands of the job
- The ergonomic setup of the workstation promotes poor work techniques
- A person uses unsafe work techniques either due to decreased physical capacity or lack of knowledge about safe work techniques.
- Morale and /or job satisfaction in the workplace is low
The ideal model addresses all of these issues, by including the following services:
- Only staff who are physically able to perform the duties are employed to perform the tasks required as part of that job. To accurately assess a person's capacity to perform a particular task, the demands of that task must be assessed through a Job Dictionary.
- Pre-Employment Assessments are developed to reflect the demands identified in the job Dictionary. These are performed on all staff prior to being employed. If staff are already employed, the same assessment is performed on them to identify any shortfalls between his/her capacity and the job requirements. Shortfalls are then developed into recommendations provided to the worker. After an agreed time frame (depending on the recommendations), the worker is reassessed. At this time, advice is given to the employer about the worker's compatibility with the task.
- A Risk Assessment is performed to ensure that the ergonomic set up of the workstation allows the worker to use ideal manual handling techniques and postures. The area is reassessed once the relevant changes have been made.
- The photographs from the Job Dictionary and Risk Assessment reports are included in a Manual Handling PowerPoint Training Presentation. This is delivered to all staff who work in these areas at the same time if possible depending on shifts worked if applicable. The PowerPoint Presentation teaches a basic understanding of how a variety of injuries can occur and how they can be prevented and treated.
- The general back education session is followed by one on one manual handling training. This includes the physiotherapist completing a competency form which allows the employer to record each worker's ability to safely perform his/her work tasks. In our experience, conducting the training in an encouraging manner assists in boosting workers' morale.
- The one on one manual handling training is complimented by work instruction posters. These are displayed at the position at each line where the task will be performed as a reminder of the correct technique.
- Maintaining physical fitness and changing posture regularly is reinforced by workers performing pause exercises throughout the work day. Exercise Posters can also be provided. These can be initially demonstrated in the PowerPoint Manual Handling Session, but ongoing supervision of these exercises is ideally the responsibility of in-house Manual Handling Trainers.
- The purpose of the Train the Trainer program is to ensure that the new work techniques taught are used in the work place. The trainers learn how to assess a co-worker's manual handling techniques and make recommendations on how to improve those techniques as required.
- To aid the trainers in conducting their own annual manual handling training sessions, the right to use the Safe Work Practice PowerPoint Presentation is available for purchase, which includes an accompanying manual.
- Maintenance of the systems can be monitored by Safe Work Practice. This creates accountability by trainers and workers to continue with exercises and new work practices.
Safe Work Practice staff comprises physiotherapists and occupational therapists.