Featuring a hospital, a fine art restoration service, and an artisan bakery, this video shows how risk management and the hierarchy of controls can be used to protect workers’ health and safety.

Who is this presentation for?

The video is for general audience viewing, and is particularly relevant to business and government leaders, workers, health and safety representatives, and work health and safety and human resource professionals.

About the presenter

The video is hosted by SafeWork SA. Speakers are Heather Brown (Assistant Director, Artlab Australia), Cos Lamberto (WHS Manager) and Annie Filsell (Pre-Admission Clinic Coordinator) from St Andrew’s Hospital, Jo Bills (Occupational Health Physiotherapist Director, Physiolink) and Adrian Fahey (CEO, SAGE Automation).

Useful resources


Minimising Musculoskeletal Disorders


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Hello and welcome. I'd like your full attention while I briefly go through some safety concerns in this short workplace safety presentation. There are three key steps towards safety in the workplace – identifying the risk, assessing the risk, controlling the risk and reviewing its effectiveness. Put simply the best way to prevent injuries or illness is to find potential hazards and fix them.

Please take the next few moments to consider the following key procedures. Wherever possible eliminate the risk. Simply remove the hazard. Substitute the hazard. Substitute the hazard with a new piece of equipment or work practice. Isolate. Isolate the hazard or hazardous work practice. Engineering controls. Adapt tools or equipment to minimise risk. Administrative controls. Change work practices or implement more training and of course make sure personal protective equipment is worn when required. 

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Remember safety is an ongoing practice. Just because it's safe today doesn't mean it's safe tomorrow.

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Hazardous manual tasks like lifting, pushing, pulling or carrying are common in every workplace. The most frequently injured parts of the body from these kinds of tasks are the back, shoulders and wrists. These injuries are known as musculoskeletal disorders or MSDs. Most arrive from repetitive sustained or awkward movements as well as high or sudden force.

By managing these hazards through consideration of posture, movement and the environment we can create a safer workplace. To do this the simplest approach is: step back and be aware of every aspect of the task at hand every time. If injuries continue to occur more rigorous actions may need to be taken.

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(Spray can) 


Annie Filsell:

At St Andrews Hospital bariatric management of patients is an important factor to help prevent injuries to nursing staff. The patient throughout their stay will move from a variety of settings from admission to the ward, to theatre, to recovery and then back to the ward. This patient is moved several times within a short period of time and may cause injury to nursing staff to their shoulder or to their back.


Sometimes a hazard can be removed by simply performing the manual task differently - perhaps by pushing not pulling, sliding rather than lifting.



Cos Lamberto:

At St Andrews we believe by conducting job safety assessments on our high risk tasks we are able to reduce the number of workplace injuries. Some of the safety equipment that we have implemented to reduce manual handling injuries have been the hover mat, bariatric wheelchairs and also slippery Sams which has reduced the amount of manual handling injury significantly across the hospital.

Jo Bills:

Equipment is now available and widely used to enable the safe manual handling of people in all environments and should be used throughout all these facilities.

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(Neck cracking) 

(Squeaky trolley wheels) 

Heather Brown:

Artlab is a pretty amazing place. It's responsible for caring for the state's collections. That means restoring or looking after the artefacts and artworks that are held in the Art Gallery of South Australia, the South Australian museum. So the conservators are highly skilled professionals. They're a bit like brain surgeons only they work on cultural objects rather than human beings. The major health issue is that these conservators often work for a long time in static poses and they're often quite awkward poses. So the conservators were at a high risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders.

Because of our experiences and learnings from working with Eureka Flag and reducing the risks Artlab went out to seek advice from a local manufacturer who worked with Ergonomist Jo Bills and with Artlab staff to custom design and to build motorised equipment that would enable the conservators to have height adjustable tables and sloped surfaces to work on. So the results have been fantastic for Artlab staff. So in fact we've conserved the conservators.

Jo Bills: 

This is an excellent example of an organisation utilising participatory ergonomics and thinking outside the square. When safety of workers is involved external expertise can assist an organisation to come up with their own unique solutions to problems that have been traditionally difficult to solve.


Almost 50 percent of workplace injuries occur because of hazardous manual tasks. Soft tissue injuries like sprains and strains along with nerve compression, muscular and vascular disorders are common. Some workplaces will require specialised actions or movements to achieve the particular job task. Sometimes to get the best outcome for awkward or sustained posture is to innovate the solution.

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Adrien Fahey: 

SAGE Automation is an industrial automation and controls company who specialises in advanced manufacturing. It's this capability that enabled us to assist one of South Australia's famous artisan bakeries Perryman's Bakery.

Neil Perryman came to SAGE with an exciting challenge in that what they were looking to do was expand their production - produce more of their gingerbread babies to sell all over Australia. This created a new challenge for him in that the gingerbread babies were individually iced by his employees. Now this task was very labour intensive and quite fatiguing. 

The solution that we landed upon was a combination of a robot and a vision system. Now one of Neil's specific requirements was to make sure that he continued to employ the same number of people in his operation but deliver a much faster and more efficient outcome. But it's also created a new and exciting opportunity for the employees to up-skill and really focus on the part that Neil really wanted them to focus on which was the artisan – the creation of artisan bakery goods.

Jo Bills: 

If a task is highly repetitious then a robot is a very good solution to this task and leave the people to do what their best at.


A fact sheet and checklist has been developed to reduce risks in all workplace environments. So please take the time to read them. This will ensure you're aware of any potential hazards in your work area. Be aware and be safe.

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[End of Transcript]

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