Industry Interventions for Addressing MSD in NZ Meat Processing

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    R E P O R TISSN 1174 - 1234

    Volume 8 No 5, 2007COHFE copyright 2007

    Industry Interventions for Addressing

    Musculoskeletal Disorders (Strains/Sprains)

    in New Zealand Meat Processing

    May 2007

    D. Tappin, D. Moore, T. Bentley, R. Parker, L. Ashby, A. Vitalis, D. Riley, S. Hide

    Findings from the 2004-2006 project Addressing Work Related Musculoskeletal Disordersin Meat and Seafood Processing.

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    Industry Interventions for Addressing MSD in NZ Meat Processing

    AcknowledgementsWe gratefully acknowledge the assistance of the Meat Industry Health and Safety Forumand of plant staff around the country, for making themselves available and providedinformation throughout all stages of the project.

    This research is funded through the joint research portfolio (Health Research Council of New Zealand, Accident Compensation Corporation, Department of Labour) and issupported by New Zealand meat processing companies.

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    Industry Interventions for Addressing MSD in NZ Meat Processing

    Table of Contents

    Introduction ...................................................................................................................... 1Some Information on MSD............................................................................................... 3

    About the Intervention Tables .......................................................................................... 4Intervention Headings ...................................................................................................... 5

    Job Design

    Task Rotation................................................................................................................... 6Rest/Recovery Breaks .....................................................................................................8Work Pace ..................................................................................................................... 10Physical Task Requirements.......................................................................................... 11

    Organisational DesignRecruitment and Retention ............................................................................................ 13

    Work Flow...................................................................................................................... 15Remuneration / Job Grades........................................................................................... 17Job Allocation................................................................................................................. 18

    Attendance..................................................................................................................... 19Staff Participation........................................................................................................... 20Shift Design....................................................................................................................22Health and Safety Management..................................................................................... 23

    Early Reporting and Injury Management........................................................................ 24Maintenance .................................................................................................................. 26

    Physical DesignPlant Design...................................................................................................................27Workspace and Equipment Design................................................................................ 28Knife and Glove Design ................................................................................................. 30

    Thermal Environment..................................................................................................... 31Noise..............................................................................................................................32

    Training DesignTask Training ................................................................................................................. 33Knife Sharpening Training 35

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    Industry Interventions for Addressing MSD in NZ Meat Processing

    IntroductionBetween 2004-2006 COHFE and Massey University conducted a study within the meatand seafood processing industries to find out about interventions that were being used,or could be used in the future, to prevent musculoskeletal disorders (MSD also oftenreferred to as sprain & strain injuries). The study was funded by the Health ResearchCouncil, ACC, and the Department of Labour. This report contains a range of industryinterventions identified during the study that can be used to help address MSD in meatprocessing.

    The specific intentions of this document are to:

    1. Help improve knowledge about MSD across the industry, including raised recognitionof more of the risk factors and implementation barriers than are currently identified.

    2. Make it clear that MSD have many causes and that as many as possible need to beaddressed to prevent MSD. There is no single cause or single solution.

    3. Encourage a broader range of interventions to be implemented, based on thosecurrently being applied or considered in the industry.

    4. Help to plan for systemic change at an industry level for some of the interventions.

    The study had three stages. In the first stage, high risk tasks were identified by theresearchers and the Meat Industry Health and Safety Forum (MIF) based on analysis of

    ACC and plant injury data (2002-2004).

    The second stage of the study involved assessment of these high risk tasks and thework systems in which they operate in 28 processing plants around the country (2005-2006). During these visits, information about existing or proposed interventionsaddressing MSD was collected at each plant. Other intervention ideas were alsocollected from the meat processing literature. Most of the interventions identifiedconcerned wider work system issues, as well as those more immediate ones specific toeach task. Data on key risk factors and barriers to implementation was also collected.

    In the third stage, data and information from the first two stages was summarised andsent to the MIF for feedback on content and intervention priority. Their feedback was

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    Industry Interventions for Addressing MSD in NZ Meat Processing

    Other interventions are ideas that plants involved in the study are planning to implement.Finally, some of the interventions are ideas from the meat processing literature, relatedindustries, or from the research team themselves.

    The full list of interventions were rated (A J) by the researchers for their combined;potential to reduce MSD (based on current understanding of those conditions), and their breadth of industry applicability. The Meat Industry Health and Safety Forumsubsequently also rated the interventions indicating; their likely impact on reducing MSD,and the likelihood of their implementation.

    Accompanying this intervention document is a literature review on MSD in meatprocessing which was conducted as part of the study. This provides more detailedbackground information on risk factors, interventions and implementation barriers asreported by other researchers internationally.

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    Industry Interventions for Addressing MSD in NZ Meat Processing

    Some Information on MSDMSD (or sprains and strains) is a term used to describe a wide range of conditions thataffect muscles, tendons, bones and joints (the musculoskeletal system). These occur when the demands of manual handling are too great, resulting in discomfort, pain, or aninjury2. MSD can either happen suddenly or occur gradually over time. They caninvolve any part of the body but are often related to the body parts involved in the worktasks (i.e. upper limbs, neck and trunk). There are many other terms used to describesome MSD (e.g. RSI, OOS, work related upper limb disorders) as well as specificdiagnoses (e.g. rotator cuff syndrome), however the term MSD is used here for consistency with international literature.

    MSD are very common in meat processing. They account for more than half of both thenumber and cost of ACC compensation claims for the industry each year. In 2005-06the cost of new and ongoing MSD claims for meat processing was over $12 million.Meat processing also has the highest MSD incidence rate when compared with other similar NZ industries.

    Many MSD risk factors were identified during the study, which is a reason in itself whyMSD are so prevalent in meat processing. They can be divided into two groups.Primary factors (or root causes) include such things as seasonality, staff turnover, fixedwork pace and a limited labour pool. While many of these things are difficult to change

    and may not be seen to be directly associated with MSD, they are the underlying driversof MSD risk. Their presence leads to secondary risk factors, or those most oftenidentified with MSD such as repetition, high forces, fast work pace, etc. On top of theserisk factors are the barriers that make implementing changes more difficult (e.g. cost,training, lack of space). Left unchecked, these implementation barriers can render otherwise good intervention ideas ineffective. In many cases, just recognising thebarriers can be enough to make them easier to manage. These risk factors and

    common barriers to change are further outlined under each intervention heading.There are many reasons why MSD are hard to address. Most commonly this appears tobe due to a narrow range of interventions being applied to a narrow range of risk factors.Other reasons include: their gradual onset making them harder to investigate andprevent and the fact they are so commonplace and are often comparatively minor

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    Industry Interventions for Addressing MSD in NZ Meat Processing

    About the Intervention TablesInterventions are grouped together under 28 headings (see page 5). For every interventionheading there is information on relevant key risk factors and implementation barriers, and arecommended intervention approach (first principles adapted from the literature). Thenumber of plants who have implemented each intervention or are planning to do so, isindicated in two columns alongside the intervention. It is important to note that this is not acount for all the plants assessed, the interventions were simply those raised by plants assteps to address MSD. Where support exists in the literature for an intervention, this isindicated in a further column.

    The interventions have been prioritised by the researchers (COHFE) and the Meat IndustryHealth and Safety Forum (MIF). The COHFE rating for each individual intervention is basedon its potential to reduce MSD nationally. The MIF combined ratings for all interventions inthe heading are based on: the likely impact on reducing MSD & the likelihood of itsimplementation (i.e. how practical they are, how easy they are to implement). To enable

    comparison between the ratings they have been grouped, whereby A-C=high, D-G=medium, and H-J=low.

    The purpose of providing this evidence and priority ratings is to help the reader establishwhich interventions may be applicable in a given situation, to help build a case, and anorder in which they might be applied.

    Example: explaining the layout of tables

    Rest/Recovery Breaks (Job Design)

    MSD key risk factors and implementation barriersFor every period of work there is an accompanying period of recovery time required. Withoutsufficient recovery time

    Recommended intervention approachEstablishing the right balance of recovery opportunities will be different for each situation

    Current interventions in the 28 plantsincluded in the study

    Plantsalreadydoing it

    Plantsplanningto do it

    Supportfor it intheliterature

    COHFE rating:potential to reduceMSD, & breadth of industry

    MIF combinedrating for thelikely impacton reducing

    MIF combinedrating for thelikelihood of implementation

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    Industry Interventions for Addressing MSD in NZ Meat Processing

    Intervention HeadingsWe have grouped the intervention headings into five categories in the table below tohelp your navigation through the document.

    Job Design(page 6)

    OrganisationalDesign (p. 13)

    PhysicalDesign (p. 27)

    TrainingDesign (p. 33)

    Task SpecificDesign (p. 37)

    Task Rotation

    Rest / RecoveryBreaks

    Work Pace

    Physical TaskRequirements

    Recruitment /retention

    Work flow

    Remuneration / job grades

    Job Allocation

    Attendance

    Staff Participation

    Shift Design

    Health & SafetyManagement

    Early Reportingand InjuryManagement

    Maintenance

    Plant Design

    Workspace andEquipmentDesign

    Knife and GloveDesign

    ThermalEnvironment

    Noise

    Task Training

    KnifeSharpeningTraining

    MSD AwarenessTraining

    Sheep/Beef Packing

    Aitch Boning

    Sheep Gutting

    Beef Boning

    Y Cutting

    Beef Gutting

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    Centrefor Human Factorsand ErgonomicsCentrefor Human Factorsand Ergonomics

    Industry Interventions for Addressing MSD in NZ Meat Processing: Rest/Recovery Breaks (Job Design)

    May 2007 Page 9 of 46

    Current interventions in the 28 plants included in the studyPlantsalreadydoing it

    Plantsplanningto do it

    Supportfor it intheliterature

    COHFE rating:potential to reduceMSD, & breadth of industry applicability(A=highest, J=lowest)

    MIF combinedrating for thelikely impact onreducing MSD(High, Med, Low)

    MIF combinedrating for thelikelihood of implementation(High, Med, Low)

    1. 5 minute breaks in the middle of each run (except the last if it is short). Enough time tomaintain knife, recover, go to the toilet, smoke break in some cases. Leave a gap in the chainso that the break is staggered as it works its way down. Both slaughter and boning. Paidunder some circumstances, not in others.

    5 Yes C

    2. Short runs - 1.5 hour maximum. Limits exposure to the tasks with highest injury risk. 1 C3. Have floater(s) available to give every staff a break. Only works if no-one is away. Not

    always available when needed most. 2 D4. Compulsory micro-pauses for 20 seconds every 15 minutes when they rotate. Implement this

    as part of the task (e.g. washing, steeling). 1 D

    5. Micro-pauses every hour for 1 minute (slaughter a...

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