Job rotation - what is it, and can it be useful?

Job rotation involves rotating jobs between workers as a way of controlling manual handling risks. It is what is known as an 'administrative' control, and because it does not address the hazard, it is lower down on the 'hierarchy of control'. It does nothing to reduce the risk of the manual handling itself, and if not done properly can in fact increase the risk to the worker. This can be when the job rotation is ineffective due to the jobs involving the same sets of muscles, or when the jobs involve the same risk factors.
While job rotation is not specifically nominated as one of the controls in Part 3.1 (Manual Handling) of the  Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2007, the employer must address the duration and frequency of the hazardous manual handling task when implementing controls.   More information on the Regulations.

A survey by WorkSafe Inspectors showed that many business are misusing job rotation as a manual handling risk control technique, and as a result WorkSafe has issued a Guidance Note: Job rotation doesn't eliminate manual handling risk. If job rotation is being used in your workplace, make sure you download a copy.

Last updated June 2015