When you think of Hunter based companies with innovative and stringent WHS policies and procedures, you’d be forgiven for thinking heavy industry leads the way. But thanks to their recognition as a finalist for the WesTrac and CAT’s Hunter Safety Awards, Anglican Care have been recognised as a leader in its field in the WHS Innovations category.
Anglican Care is one of the Hunter’s largest; most innovative community and aged care providers and is the aged care division of the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle. With a portfolio of residential aged care homes, community home care services and retirement living developments, Anglican Care have over 900 staff, some of whom perform a variety of labour intensive manual handling tasks.
Anglican Care CEO Colin Osborne said the nomination for the WHS Innovation award was great recognition for the company’s dedication to reducing injuries.
“We investigated the insurance claims data and found that a high proportion of the injuries were occurring within the laundry and hospitality services areas. Further investigation identified that loading and unloading of industrial washing machines and food trays from trolleys, waste removal, and movement of cleaning equipment were the most at-risk tasks for these positions.
Anglican Care, through the advice and funding from insurer Allianz, engaged the services of specialist WHS analysis company dorsaVi to conduct an objective and quantitative overview of the physical demands on laundry and hospitality staff using wearable body sensors. These sensors when worn by staff would send real-time movement data to the software which provided an accurate assessment of how each task was being performed.
The data identified that loading and unloading of industrial washing machines and food trays from trolleys, waste removal and movement of cleaning equipment to be the most at risk tasks for these positions. Each were found to have elements of repetitive spinal flexion and sustained elevation and internal rotation of the shoulder.
“dorsaVi engaged in structured discussions and brainstorming sessions with our Work Health and Safety Officer, Human Resources Manager and the Operations Team along with expert advice from Exercise Physiologist, Physiotherapist, Compliance Managers, Materials Handling and Engineering to ensure the most effective outcome was found that reduced manual handling injuries,” Colin said.
With the success of the first project evident, Anglican Care have since engaged dorsaVi for further risk management assistance, and baseline studies on Care Staff have now been collected. We now plan to review this data further and follow similar practices to our initial study, with a view to rolling out successful interventions across our organisation.
“The safety of our employees is always our highest priority, so to have such great results from this work has been a really satisfying outcome,” Colin concluded.
The WesTrac and CAT’s Hunter Safety Awards will be presented on Friday 17th March 2017.