Analysing task rotation

This section provides some advice on how to use ART where workers carry out several different repetitive tasks as part of their job.

If workers rotate to other repetitive tasks in their job, you should assess all of their tasks that involve repetitive movements of the upper limbs and consider their overall exposure.

One method is to use ART to make an assessment of each repetitive task in the rotation. Then compare the risk factor colours and scores across the different tasks.

The table below shows one example of how to present the information so that you can make a quick visual check of the colours and scores across the different tasks. In this example, a worker rotates between three different tasks (Tasks A, B and C). A quick visual check shows that each task in the rotation involves very frequent and repetitive movements of the arm and hand and between two and three hours of work without a break. More than one of the tasks also involves awkward postures of the arm, wrist and hand.

(Note: In this case, an assessment has only been made of the right hand, which was the predominant hand used in each of the three tasks. However, in other cases, it might be necessary to assess both the left and right hand across the different tasks).

3 task assesments
Task A Task B Task C
Risk factor Arm movements 6 6 7
Repetition 6 6 6
Force 0 0 0
Head / neck posture 0 2 0
Back posture 0 0 0
Arm posture 3 0 2
Wrist posture 1 1 0
Hand / finger grip 2 3 0
Breaks 4 4 2
Work pace 1 1 0
Other factors 0 0 0
Task score 23 23 17

If you find that workers rotate to tasks with similar red scores or high task scores, the task rotation may not provide enough variability or recovery in the work. In this case, examine the task rotation system further.

It is important to speak to workers about whether the rotation provides sufficient recovery or improves their work in other ways.

Task rotation workbook

While a quick visual check is useful for comparing factors across the different tasks, it does not take account of how long a worker performs each task in the rotation (eg what if the worker only spends a small part of their day performing a task with a high task score?)

To help take account of duration, an electronic workbook is available that calculates the overall score of a job involving several repetitive tasks.

This job exposure score:

  • Helps prioritise jobs involving more than one repetitive task
  • Helps consider task rotation as a means of managing the risks posed by repetitive tasks

It takes account of the total amount of time that a worker spends doing each repetitive task and whether task rotation is frequent or infrequent.

More information and instructions are contained within the electronic workbook.

Download the task rotation workbook (.xls)

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Updated: 2021-10-11