Reducing duration of exposure
Where a lack of breaks or long task durations are highlighted as a problem, the general principles are to:
- Allow for short breaks in work
- Develop a work/rest regime which provides sufficient time for recovery
- Monitor and manage overtime working
- Consider task rotation
Taking breaks before the onset of fatigue is important.
Consult workers to set adequate work-rest ratios or alternatively, allocate times when workers should rotate from a specific task.
Increase the frequency of breaks. Frequent short breaks are preferable to a few long ones.
Design tasks so that there are opportunities to take frequent short breaks within the task cycle.
Task rotation has the potential to reduce the duration of exposure. Remember that rotating to a task that utilises the same parts of the body, and presents the same risk factors for injury as the original task will not provide an adequate opportunity for rest.
When task rotation is introduced, be aware of the following:
- Training may be required to give the workers the necessary skills
- The skills used on one task may interfere with those on subsequent tasks and therefore, time for readjustment between tasks may be necessary
- Time may be needed to allow workers to get used to each task in the rotation sequence
- Task rotation may have only a superficial impact upon risk exposure. In practice, the same level of physical demand may remain even though it appears to be quite different