A Mail Officer has told the AAT that Australia Post did not follow its own OHS Policies or the National Code of Practice for Hazardous Manual Tasks when it required the CWU member to perform work lifting unduly heavy loads without regard to safe work durations or task rotations. The member said she believes that the frequent breaches of these policies and national code resulted in her physical injuries.
The member described the work as physically demanding laboring type work that involved repetitive and sustained loading and unloading heavy items (mail and parcels) over long periods of time. They estimated that during the course of a shift they would lift many tonnes on their own.
In the new/ expanded parcel facilities Post employs safe work durations of approximately 2 hours and task rotation between lifting tasks and repetitive movement tasks. The safe work durations were determined as a result of assessing the recommended weight limit for each new task using NIOSH assessment from the Code of Practice. Without task duration the work rate for some new tasks would have been zero lifts per minute. This was done to benefit Post.
The same safe work durations and task rotation arrangements should be applied to all facilities handling parcels.
The case is still before the AAT. The CWU is assisting the member.