Recording and using your findings
Recording your findings
Deciding what changes to make
Think about how to make changes because of what you found in your assessment. This usually involves:
- Deciding what remedial steps to take;
- Putting them into an order of priority;
- Making sure someone is going to make the changes;
- Having a target date to complete the changes;
- Assessing whether the changes have been successful.
Ideally, you want as many as possible of the individual load weights and summary bars in the ‘Green’ zone. If you can’t achieve this, you should aim to reduce the MSD risk as far as is reasonably practicable.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Can loads be handled mechanically?
- Can you reduce the amount of carrying or the carry distances?
- Can you reduce the weights of the heavy items?
- Can you reduce the number of lifts workers carry out per shift?
- Can you change the length of the shift or the way that workers rotate between tasks?
Specific questions from your V-MAC assessment
Are any of the summary bars in the Purple or Red zones? If so,
- Can you reduce the manual handling of heavy items?
- Can you reduce the total weight lifted during the shift?
Is the mean value bigger than the median value?
- This shows that you have a distribution with a long tail of lots of heavy individual weights. Seek to eliminate manual handling of the heaviest items.
Is the colour band of the mode worse than for the mean or median?
- Can you reduce the number of times that items of this weight are handled?
Is there a lot of carrying?
- Can you use mechanical aids such as trolleys or conveyors to reduce carrying?
- Can you reduce the distance between the start and finish positions of carries?
Check that your control measures have worked
Just as with any other risk assessment, once you have made changes to reduce risks, go back and do a reassessment to check that the changes have been successful.
Reviewing and updating your V-MAC assessment
Workplaces change, so every risk assessment needs reviewing from time to time. You should review your assessment if it is no longer valid or if there are significant changes in the way the job is performed. The effort you put into the review should be proportionate to the risk and the number of workers involved.
In warehousing environments you might ask:
- Are the products that pass through your warehouse constantly changing? Don’t assess one-off jobs. Look to assess a typical day, regardless of the actual products being handled.
- Are you making significant changes to your warehouse layouts?
- Are you making changes to your picking methods?
- Are you making changes to your picking rates or shift system?
- Have you got major new suppliers?
- Have your existing suppliers changed how they package goods?
- Have you got major new customers?
- Have your existing customers changed their orders or how they want them made up?
In production environments you might ask
- Are you changing your production methods?
- Are you changing the products you make?