27 January 2021 posted by Recovery Partners

The Grant

Tradelink is to receive safety support thanks to a WorkCover Queensland grant issued via the Queensland Government’s Injury Risk and Reduction Initiative (IRRI). Known as the Customer Delivery Hazardous Manual Task Risk Reduction Program, Tradelink will have access to the program in collaboration with Recovery Partners, its preferred provider of return-to-work services.

The Challenge

The retail trade distribution industry has its challenges. These include musculoskeletal injuries from the awkward postures moving loads in variable conditions, back injuries from sustained positions, and as Tradelink have found, the hazards of navigating products such as a hot water systems into position on a property.

The Purpose of IRRI

The purpose of the IRRI program is to implement a small intervention for an employer to reduce their injury risk exposure and provide a return on investment (ROI) within 2-3 years. The aim is to identify risks proactively to reduce potential incidents and injuries occurring in the future. The intervention is to be evidence-based and consider the risk management framework to eliminate or minimise the root cause of the manual handling risk and which could include interventions such as job redesign or the design and creation of new equipment.

How Tradelink are using IRRI

Tradelink Environmental, Health and Safety Manager Leanne Findlay says the IRRI funding would be utilised to improve safety for their delivery drivers. “Safety is our number one priority as Australia’s oldest plumbing merchants; it’s a responsibility we address and incorporate in our operations every single day,” Ms. Findlay explained. This pilot provides an opportunity to tailor a risk management solution for a specific hazardous manual task. The result of the pilot will be a tailored risk solution rather than a one size fits all.

What the Risk Assessment found

Following a hazardous manual task risk assessment conducted by Recovery Partners, it was identified that the largest risk was the movement of hot water systems.

The Prototype

Recovery Partners’ recommendation was the design, development, and manufacture of a handle prototype. It was designed and printed with a 3D printer. An occupational therapist was consulted on the ergonomics of the handle, and a manufacturer was sourced to build and refine the design.   

“It has been a challenge to come up with a one size fits all solution that mitigates so many manual task variables associated with delivering a range of plumbing products to a site. For example, variable flooring, uneven steps, variable weights of products, variable size of products and often the driver is on his own once onsite. We also needed to consider whether any aid or equipment identified to help reduce onsite delivery risk must be stored in the vehicle”.

Results to date

The final report from the project will validate the intervention works and our business can make an informed decision to invest in a tool to be placed across 200 stores nationally. Early signs from the program are very exciting, with a purpose-built prototype tailored to Tradelink. Even better, the controls are scalable, fit in the cabin with the driver and will be beneficial across the industry. “We are proud to deliver this program to our team in collaboration with Recovery Partners, and with a network of 1,500 staff across Queensland, we know that the information and skills will be a great asset to our teams safety and the communities we service,” Ms. Findlay stated.  

Do you have an injury risk in your workplace that needs a solution? Or do you have an idea for the Injury Risk and Reduction Initiative?

Recovery Partners consultants specialise in WHS solutions. We can create a solution tailored to your specific risk. Whether it is designing and developing a physical product (like the handle above) or a person or a platform (e.g., Diligence – an online safety system) we can create the solution for you.

We can also partner with you to gain access to grant monies.

Identify your injury risks by booking a Risk Assessment today – contact our Safety team.  

Our services are available nationwide. For more information about our services contact us.

Our consultants love to have a chat, so go ahead and give us a call on 1300 OHS RTW (647 789) or email enquiries@rrp.com.au

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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/