July 17, 2019

He ain’t heavy: Manual Handling Risk Improvement Program

Upali and Somaratne are Patient Service Assistants (PSAs) who are always smiling, right through an eight hour work day. Their typical day includes mopping floors, restocking trolleys and store rooms, cleaning bathrooms and making beds – everything required to prepare the room for the next patient.

Today their smiles are broader than usual. They have just been through week eight of a Manual Handling Risk Improvement Program, run by our Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) team in conjunction with Exercise Movement Professionals (EMP).

They say they have learnt a lot and can already see an improvement. “Particularly, when the EMP staff come around to our wards and observe how we’re working and show us the correct way to complete tasks without causing pain or damage to our bodies,” they say.

Among the first participants to test out the technology used in the program were Chief Operating Officer, Jane Poxon, Chief Financial Officer, Basil Ireland and Executive Director People & Culture, Michelle Fenwick.

Jane, Basil and Michelle took part in both the function assessment and sensor tests, and had their results explained instantly from EMP staff.
They were shown how small changes in behaviour can reduce risk – such as moving closer to the table or moving a chair out of the way if you’re wiping down a table.

Michelle Fenwick said it was nice to be able to recognise the hard work our PSAs do and empower them to give of their best.

“They are an important part of our workforce and vital to the smooth discharge of patients,” she said.

The PSA-CARPS staff group was the first set of PSAs to trial the program, with other departments to follow.

Pictured above Jane Poxon and Michelle Fenwick taking part in the function assessment and sensor tests conducted by EMP staff