The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

Tips for a Succesful Exercise Program

Graham Marshall - Monday, March 18, 2013

Exercise is a major element in the quest to remain fit and healthy throughout the lifespan.

It is important, however, for folks who are re-starting an exercise program after a long lay-off to exercise safely.

So if you want to reap the benefits of regular exercise, apply the following safety tips:

+   Get a medical clearance from your Doctor before starting your new program;

+   Begin slowly and then increase your program intensity and duration;

+   Follow all the safety guidelines for using any work-out equipment;

+   Ensure you use proper footwear and other necessary protective equipment for your chosen activity;

+   Inspect your equipment before each use;

+   Warm-up and stretch before starting your exercise program.  The cool down and stretch again at the end of the session;

+   Try to incorporate several physical activities into your exercise routine;

+   If you experience sharp or severe pain during your work out - stop!

+   If pain persists, see your doctor.

Risk Associated with 240 Volt Hand Tools

Graham Marshall - Thursday, April 19, 2012

In the past three years from April 2009 to April 2012, NOPSEMA has received 39 notifications of electric shock

Fortunately, there have been no deaths associated with these electric shock incidents, but they are, nonetheless, high-potential incidents.

We all need to ensure we take advantage of the “lessons learnt” from these incidents because more personnel are being exposed to the potential for serious injury or death due to electric shock.

According to NOPSEMA, Of the 39 notifications:

+   Nineteen involved the use of Hand Tools, Temporary Lighting, Extension Cables etc;

+   Thirteen involved fixed equipment (Lighting, Switches, General Power Outlets); and

+   Seven were related to welding activities (5 of which involved Earth Clamps condition / application).

Schedule 3 of the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 places duties on the operator
of a facility to take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure that:

A.  The facility is safe and without risk to the health of any person at or near the facility; and

B.  All work and other activities carried out on the facility are carried out in a manner that is safe and
without risk to the health of any person at or near the facility.

Good practice demands that the layers of control are being used to reduce risk to ALARP, taking account of:

+   Elimination of the hazard;

+   Substitution (for a less hazardous alternative);

+   Engineering – redesign or use isolation and LOTO;

+   Administrative controls are in place including PTW, Procedures, JSA, tool box talks and such like; and

+   PPE is being used.

To take advantage of our JSA covering the safe use of powered hand-held tools, which highlights the hierarchy of controls to be used, simply click here.

Managing Whole Body Vibration

Graham Marshall - Saturday, July 30, 2011
Whole Body Vibration (WBV) occurs when low-frequency environmental vibration is transferred to a person through a broad contact area. 

Transmission of environmental vibration to the person most often occurs through the buttocks when sitting and this places operators of mobile plant and equipment at particular high risk of exposure. 

WBV can also be transferred to a person through the feet when standing or through the whole body when in broader contact with machinery.

The health impacts of WBV can be substantial and include increased fatigue, a reduction in motor performance capability, irritation of the lungs, abdomen or bladder, and unwanted vision impacts.

One of the most common impacts of WBV is lower back pain caused by vehicle jarring.

There are several methods of control for WBV and these include:

  • Elimination of the problem by removal of people from vibrating environments (through redesign);
  • Substitution of new for old technology which may be less prone to vibrate at low-frequency;
  • Installation of vibration dampers on equipment and vehicles;
  • Use of transportation alternatives;
  • Regular grading of unsealed roads which may be prone to "corrugations";
  • Regular job rotation to reduce individual exposure time to WBV; and
  • Training in the ergonomic set-up of vehicle seating and controls.


For further information on WBV, the UK Control of Vibration at Work Regulations (2005) are available by clicking here.

Australian Code of Practice for Prevention of Occupational Overuse Syndrome

Graham Marshall - Thursday, April 28, 2011
Following on from the last two days' posts - I thought it might be useful to include a link to the Australian Code of Practice for the Prevention of Occupational Overuse Syndrome [NOHSC:2013(1994)] and the National Standard for Manual Handling [NOHSC: 1001(1990)] which both make important points about the requirements for the management of risk associated with the use of "Smart-phones" and the prevention of the so-called "Blackberry Thumb".

The Code of Practice can be found here.

The National Standard can be found here.


Blackberry Thumb

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Yesterday I posted about the Occupational Overuse Syndrome (OOS) issues surrounding so-called "Blackberry Thumb".

Today, I'll provide  some guidance on how to manage this risk in your organization.

In Australia, the National Standard for Manual Working [NOHSC: 1001(1990)] together with National Code of Practice for the Prevention of Occupational Overuse Syndrome [NOHSC:2013(1994)] require hazard identification, risk assessment and control of work tasks to be carried out by employers in consultation with employees.


This consultation should occur:

  • Whenever purchasing, or designing or implementing new workplace layout, new furniture, new work processes or new equipment - such as supplying so-called "Smart-phones" to your employees;
  • Whenever the organization identifies a new area of risk requiring assessment - such as is now know about "Blackberry-thumb";
  • During the risk assessment process;
  • When determining the risk control measures to be implemented to prevent or reduce the risk of OOS resulting from the use of "smart-phones"; and:
  • When reviewing the effectiveness of implemented control measures.


Known risk factors for OOS which may become apparent with the use of "smart-phones" include the following:

  • Awkward body posture when texting or sending e-mail;
  • Poorly designed smart-phones or smart-phones not matched to the employee; particularly associated with keyboard use, screen size, and stylus usage;
  • Factors such as body position and required force requirements for repeated movements;
  • Organizational issues including excessive demands due to the actual or perceived urgency of deadlines; required output volumes; the duration of tasks; exposure time to the task; and the number and duration of rest breaks;
  • The requirement to perform the same repetitive movements; and
  • The presence of new or returning workers who are required to perform repetitive movements without a period for adjustment.


All of the above factors should be managed if you wish to  avoid future civil litigation from employees claiming against you for Occupational Overuse Syndrome arising from their use of smart-phone technology.

Smart Phone Occupational Overuse Syndrome

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, April 26, 2011

In my day, we used to get carpel tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, or repetitive strain injury.  All were problems that caused some degree of discomfort.
Well, apparently we now have 'BlackBerry thumb'  to add to the list of Occupational Overuse Syndrome (OOS) problems.

This new form of OOS is related to the over-use of a mobile phone for sending e-mails and texts, or playing games.

The condition is now so common that organizations need to protect themselves against future claims for workers compensation.

As with all hazards management for any job, start by using our Think 6, Look 6 Hazard and Risk Management Process to gather the right information and don't forget to record your task assessment.

Focus on the controls needed to manage OSS and make sure that these controls are communicated to the employees at risk of this form of OOS.  Then check and verify the controls are being used.

To avoid prosecutions or civil litigation, document everything!

You'll find a range of tools in our shop that will help you to identify the relevant information, develop the right approach, and raise your communication about the issues.

Tomorrow I'll make a post with a little more detail on what you need to do to reduce the risk of "Smart-phone" OOS.

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