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Where should risk management strategies be targeted? Dec 29th, 2014
The conventional approach to OHS risk management has been to focus on hazard management – identifying hazards, assessing risk from each identified hazard, and taking any necessary steps to control risk from each hazard separately.

However effective risk management for MSD needs to accurately identify, assess and control the most relevant worksite risk factors for a particular job. To determine what these risk factors are a participative systems approach is needed using hazard surveillance evidence collected from employees within a particular job.


Target Job Levels

The following study showed risk management strategies need to be targeted at the ‘job level’ if they are to be maximally effective (i.e. target specific job task and roles, rather than specific organisations or employment sectors).

Risk mitigation should be aimed at individual jobs to ensure maximum effectiveness in reducing MSD risk. This does not suggest that organisational influences are not critically important. In a systems approach, the influences from an organisational level play a vital role in determining a range of factors directly related to job design including safety, efficiency and effectiveness.

Be Job specific, not Task Specific

Another important distinction is the need for a job rather than a task focus, which is currently employed by many ergonomists and safety personnel. Whilst tasks were not directly examined in the current study, the problem with a focus on examining specific tasks is it fails to take account of the range of activities and demands placed on an individual. By evaluating tasks it is likely that important interactions will be not be accounted for.

The potential for interactions between hazards means that risk assessment on a hazard-by-hazard basis can be unreliable, because the effect on WMSD risk of a particular observed hazard level is likely to depend on the type and severity of other hazards experienced, that is, the combination of tasks may increase the risk of developing a WMSD.

Next- What are the Minimum Requirements

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