Expensive non-compliance “the persistence of lifting technique training”

12 Nov 2020

Expensive non-compliance “the persistence of lifting technique training”

This presentation surveys the safetyscape to examine the misconception that lifting technique training reduces injury frequency rates and meets compliance with WHS legislation.

Behavioral based programs, where workers are trained in techniques, such as, bending the knees, a neutral spine and abdominal bracing, are ineffective for managing the risks of hazardous manual tasks. They do not prevent workplace musculoskeletal disorders nor comply with WHS legislation. Lifting technique training is too often undertaken at the expense of other measures that can effectively reduce the cause of HMT related injuries.

The evidence around the inadequacy of lifting technique training, as a control for hazardous manual tasks, has been in circulation for at least ten years, yet it continues to be implemented, often as a sole control in many workplaces.
There are potentially many reasons why workplaces continue to implement this type of training and Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) are exploring why this approach has been sustained and are focusing on redressing this problem.

From August 2019, WHSQ commenced a program that includes enforcement action for workplaces not compliant with suitable and adequate information for their hazardous manual tasks training. At the same time, industry resources have been published to assist with compliance.

WHSQ are also undertaking surveys and focus groups with employers and WHS professionals to better understand the beliefs and attitudes that continue to drive the use of lifting technique training. These results will be presented and discussed in light of the evidence base.

Interim results from a campaign of inspector visits will report on rates of suitable and adequate HMT training found at Queensland workplaces and the resultant compliance action taken where suitable and adequate training had not been provided.