Home > Safety Focus: Avoiding musculoskeletal injuries when stretchwrapping pallets

Safety Focus: Avoiding musculoskeletal injuries when stretchwrapping pallets

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article image Integrated Packaging's Q-1000 automatic conveyorised stretch wrapping system largely removes the need for manual handling entirely
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In June, WorkSafe Victoria launched a year-long campaign targeting musculoskeletal injuries. Commenting at the launch of the campaign, Victoria's Assistant Treasurer Gordon Rich-Phillips noted that "musculoskeletal injuries are the most common workplace injury, costing nearly $1 billion a year in medical costs, wages and other expenses."

While this campaign is being conducted in Victoria, the risk of musculoskeletal injuries is the same at any workplace in the country, so here Ferret.com.au will look at some of the most common causes of these injuries, and discuss potential solutions to the problem as suggested by WorkSafe Victoria.

According to Mr Rich-Phillips, dangerous manual handling, particularly lifting, lowering and moving things accounts for about 68 per cent of all musculoskeletal injury claims, while about 20 per cent are the result of slips, trips and falls.

In the first parts of this series, we will focus on specific manual handling processes, and the procedures and safety devices that can be employed to minimise the risk of injury when these are undertaken. We have previously discussed safety solutions for preventing slips, trips and falls in the workplace, but will return to the subject later in the week to look at preventing falls from mezzanine floors.

The first manual handling process we will discuss is the stretchwrapping of pallets. When this is done manually, it requires poor postures and movements, and often high force. WorkSafe Victoria notes that this can cause musculoskeletal injuries particularly to the back, shoulders, knees, wrists, fingers and forearms.
These injuries can occur suddenly or develop gradually over time.

To reduce the risk of injuries when stretchwrapping, WorkSafe Victoria suggests:
  • installing an automatic pallet wrapper
  • using a semi-automatic stretchwrapping machine; or
  • using a vacuum-sealing or shrink-wrapping device.
Many companies on Ferret.com.au offer such machinery, such as Integrated Packaging , which supplies a range of customised wrapping equipment and stretch film pallet wrappers designed with workplace safety in mind.

Multiple configurations of these machines are available, allowing for custom specifications. All machines in the range feature Pallet-Grip locking technology, which is designed to reduce the risk of operator injury by securely holding products in place

Optimum Handling Solutions also provides a range of stretch wrapping machines, including manual, semi-automatic and fully automatic models.

Where it is not practicable to utilise a wrapping machine or device, WorkSafe suggests minimising the risk of injury by using:
  • a raised automated scissor lift and turntable to improve posture and movements; or
  • an alternative packing product such as tape-wrapping.
Optimum Handling Solutions also stocks a range of scissor lifts, in electric, hydraulic, static spring and mobile models. These devices are specifically designed to increase productivity and operator safety, and are available in configurations to suit all manual handling requirements, with capacities ranging from 250kg up to 4,000kg.

Safetech is Australia's largest manufacturer of industrial and commercial scissor lifts. The company is able to create scissor lifts and turntables to suit any individual application or requirement, with load capacities ranging from 100kg to 25 tonne.

As an alternative to stretch wrapping, Safetech also offers a stretch tape wrapping system. Designed and manufactured in Australia, the Stretch Tape Easy Wrapper has a galvanised base to withstand corrosion and a large diameter chequerplate turntable with a capacity of 2,000kg. The base incorporates fork tyne sockets and the mast folds down for easy relocation and transport.

All of Safetech's materials handling equipment is compliant with Australian standards.

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