If you’re like any of the 6.9 million Australians who suffer from musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), you might need to a day off work to recover as well as take time out of the week for various specialist appointments. Not only is it a pain in the neck (literally) for you and your employer, the annual total cost of MSDs in Australia is calculated to be over 24 billion dollars.*
Musculoskeletal disorders are injuries and disorders that affect the human body’s movement or musculoskeletal systems (muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, discs etc.).
Common disorders include muscle/tendon strain, tendonitis, ligament sprain, tension neck syndrome and carpal tunnel syndrome. Symptoms can range from mild discomfort to severe pain and even tingling and numbness in the hands, arms, shoulders, neck, back, legs or feet.
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in heavy vehicle drivers
Of course, some occupations are more susceptible than others to suffering these disorders. Long hours, sedentary and stationary positions, and lifting heavy freight with awkward posture, places heavy vehicle drivers in a high-risk industry for MSDs.
The latest research on work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD) in Australia recorded close to 10, 000 drivers with WMSD serious claims between 2015 to 2016.
The study reported:
Machinery Operators and Drivers had 61 per cent of their WMSD related to body stressing. Their primary bodily locations for injury were trunk (34%), upper limbs (32%) and lower limbs (26%).
MSDs have been identified as priority disorders in the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012–2022 (the Australian Strategy),The strategy includes a national target to reduce the incidence rate of claims for musculoskeletal disorders resulting in one or more weeks off work of at least 30%.
You’ve seen the red and white truck cabs on the roads, and you recognise the blue and yellow signage splashed across the trailers. That’s because Lindsay Australia have an extensive east coast network. They work in partnership with Australian farmers and all parties in the supply chain to move valuable freight – the food that feeds our families. Not only do they work hard to deliver food and produce, Lindsay Australia work hard to support their employees and reduce MSDs in their drivers.
How Recovery Partners are helping Lindsay Australia
Recovery Partners was engaged by Lindsay Australia to help identify, assess, control and review MSD risk with their fleet of 800 drivers. Risk identification was undertaken through site assessments across their east coast business. Incident and injury history was reviewed and verified through driver surveys, confirming the MSD risk factor as present in Lindsay Transport.
Recovery Partners undertook detailed biometric assessment of Lindsay driver tasks in consultation with drivers who perform the actual work. Utilising ‘Preventure’ software allowed Recovery Partners to identify the specific points in which muscle load was highest. Detailed Job Task Analysis was developed and provided to Lindsay as part of the MSD risk assessment process.
A ‘MSD Toolkit’ has been developed to help Lindsay Australia manage their MSD risk profile. This toolkit includes the Job Task Analysis, Safe Work Instruction, and the development of three engaging information videos on managing MSD risk.
The professionally developed and edited information videos include:
- Vehicle ergonomics
- Driver stretching routines
- Myofascial release routines.
The videos are easily accessible in cabs via QR codes and include corresponding safe work instruction.
Recovery Partners also ordered 800 peanut balls for drivers to use in conjunction with the standard operating procedures and information videos.
In addition to the videos, Recovery Partners are running face-to-face and virtual SafeMoves Manual Handling Training.
Any driver who operates a Lindsay vehicle will have quick and easy access to critical information that can help prevent an injury.
*Oakman, J., Macdonald, W. The APHIRM toolkit: an evidence-based system for workplace MSD risk management. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 20, 504 (2019)
Disclaimer – these articles are provided to supply general safety information to people responsible for OHS in their organisation. They are general in nature and do not substitute for legal and/or professional advice. We always suggest that organisations obtain information specific to their needs. Additional information can be found at https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/
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