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Hazards and risks

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Schools are involved in many activities that present a range of hazards. These hazards and associated risks must be managed to ensure the safety of staff, students and others. Information about managing common hazards is included in this section.

Each of the following topics include departmental procedures and guidelines, resources, legislation and related links. Click on the subject area for more information.

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Manual tasks and ergonomics

Manual tasks can contribute to a range of musculoskeletal disorders (injuries) including:

  • sprains and strains of muscles
  • injuries to muscles, ligaments, discs and other structures of the back
  • injuries to soft tissues such as nerves, tendons, ligaments in the wrists, arms and shoulders.

These types of injuries are often cumulative with damage occurring over a period of time before pain or injury is apparent.

Some work activities may present additional hazards that can also overload the body and lead to injury. These tasks are known as hazardous manual tasks and require specific management strategies. A hazardous manual task involves one or more of the following factors:

  • repetitive or sustained force
  • high or sudden force
  • repetitive movement
  • sustained or awkward posture
  • exposure to vibration.

Encourage staff to report problems with manual tasks and signs of discomfort immediately so that risks can be managed before an injury occurs.

Risk management resources specific to manual tasks are available on this page.

Hazardous manual task resources

Hazardous Manual Tasks (HMT) Safety Operating Procedures

The following generic Safe Operating Procedures (SOPs) provide information on how to address risks related to identified hazardous manual tasks in department work environments. Ensure you modify the content to reflect any local circumstances related to your task and equipment before you implement them.

Cleaning

Grounds and facilities

Teaching support

General

The health and wellbeing of students is a priority for the department. Carrying heavy school bags is a concern for some students and families. This document discusses what students may experience and what we can do to reduce the risks.

Student moving and handling task resources

Office and computer workstation resources

Slips, trips and falls resources

Legislation and other links

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Last updated 04 November 2019