CSR Ltd provides building products for residential and commercial construction across Australia and New Zealand. CSR’s work health and safety (WHS) and workers’ compensation data showed that musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) were a priority area. They found there was a high number of manual task related injuries and there were gaps in their work health and safety management systems in relation to the assessment and control of hazardous manual tasks.
CSR developed the manual handling initiative to reduce MSDs caused by hazardous manual tasks. CSR management knew that strong leadership was critical to making positive change. By making a visible commitment to address the issue, CSR was able to achieve significant reductions in reportable MSDs across the organisation within 18 months of rolling ou the initiative.
CSR was pleased to report:
- a 65 per cent reduction in their recordable manual handling related injuries
- over 100 controls for hazardous manual tasks had been put in place, including redesign and engineering controls, and
- more than 350 workers received training in hazardous manual tasks risk management and have become manual handling “champions”. They keep the message alive and continually drive improvement to reduce manual handling injury risks.
Benefits for CSR from this initiative include:
- significant reductions in the numbers of workers being injured
- significant reductions in workers’ compensation claims and claims costs, and
- a 38 per cent reduction in manual handling workers’ compensation claims costs.
The manual handling initiative has also been a primary driver in empowering everyone to make a difference to their own safety at work and go home to the things that really matter.
So how did they do it?
CSR started by setting some key performance indicators and targets:
- They developed specific annual targets for the reduction of MSDs. These targets are in the work health and safety plans for all business units and site managers are accountable for meeting them. The CEO receives quarterly reports about the progress of the manual handling initiative and manual handling issues are a standing agenda item for management meetings.
Next, they implemented an innovative manual handling initiative:
- The work health and safety advisor developed the participative ergonomics based manual handling initiative. CSR believes that a participative management style is integral to a positive safety climate.
- Management supported all phases of the initiative including the development of risk assessment resources, engaging with workers and the onsite trials.
They communicated and engaged with workers across the organisation and supply chain partners:
- Workers at all levels of the organisation have contributed to improving CSR’s performance and decreasing MSDs.
- CSR recognises that workers identify the best solutions and management’s role is to provide the resources and support to progress their implementation.
- Regular communication across CSR helps maintain interest in the manual handling initiative and assists site managers overcome any potential barriers.
- Managers take safety walks onsite and chat with workers about manual handling issues and solutions.
- The manual handling initiative is included in monthly safety reports and management meetings.
- Solutions for hazardous manual tasks are promoted across the organisation, people share what they have learned, and updates on the project are published in internal CSR staff publications.
- CSR recognised the opportunity to extend their improvements to incorporate the work methods of their supply chain partners and have engaged with them to develop further solutions.
Importantly, they provided the resources needed:
- CSR allocated non-production hours to allow workers to contribute to the project. This included time to attend training, participate in risk assessments and develop risk control ideas.
- Management allocated resources and funding for a range of risk controls ranging from in-house fixes to long term capital expenditure items.
And they recognised achievement and outcomes:
- Reward and recognition promotes a positive prevention culture and demonstrates high quality safety leadership practices. Workers who have had good risk management outcomes are recognised through internal safety awards.
- One site recently won the prestigious CSR Values Award for Safety for their focus on manual handling and implementation of many manual handling controls.
- CSR promotes ‘good news stories’ across the organisation in relation to the manual handling initiative.
Developing a learning culture around safety innovation is recognised as an important contributor to a positive safety culture within CSR. When people feel safe at work, they are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs, contribute more to workplace initiatives and become more productive.
CSR is incorporating the learnings and strategies from the manual handling initiative into broader WHS risk management processes and they are targeting other WHS areas in need of improvement.
For further information visit the Workplace HealthandSafety Queensland website or call 1300 369 915.