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Top five practical solutions for managing risk and reducing injuries in industrial environments

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article image The Roto Rack Roller eliminates the need for warehouse personnel to bend over to pick products from floor based pallets
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In recent months, Ferret.com.au has published a series of articles focussing on specific solutions for managing risk and reducing injuries in industrial environments, from protecting workers in hazardous environments, to minimising the risk of injury when shifting heavy loads.

Below, we highlight the most popular of these articles, discussing the top five practical solutions for ensuring a safer workplace.

Eliminating musculoskeletal injuries when picking from floor based pallets
Musculoskeletal injuries appear to be the biggest concern for industrial businesses, with articles dealing specifically with this issue comprising our top three most viewed in the series.

In this article, we look at an innovative pull out slide mechanism developed by Rotolift that is designed to eliminate the need for warehouse personnel to bend over to pick products from floor based pallets.

This mechanism bolts into standard storage pallet racking, and was a finalist in the 'Best Solution to a Workplace Health and Safety Issue' category of the 2012 WorkSafe Awards.

Reducing the risk of musculoskeletal injuries when stretchwrapping pallets
In the first of a number of articles focussing specifically on manual handling processes, we look at stretchwrapping pallets, a process that when done manually requires poor postures and movements, and often high force.

WorkSafe Victoria provides a useful list of solutions for minimising the risk of injury in this application, and then we discuss a range of machinery provided by companies on Ferret.com.au designed to reduce the amount of manual labour required when stretchwrapping pallets, and hence reduce the risk to workers.

Avoiding musculoskeletal injuries when handling empty wooden pallets
Continuing with the theme of manual handling processes around pallets, here we focus on problems associated with lifting and transporting empty wooden pallets. WorkSafe notes particular areas for concern are injuries to the back, shoulders, wrists and forearms, which can occur suddenly or develop gradually over time.

After looking at a range of stackers and forklifts, we consider replacing heavy wooden pallets with more lightweight options that are both easier and safer to handle.

Protecting mine workers in oxygen-deficient atmospheres
When working in areas where oxygen deficiency is a concern, attempts should be made first to reduce the risk of the problem occurring in the first place, and then to ensure that workers are properly trained and equipped with sufficient safety equipment to deal with such a situation, should it arise.

In our discussion of this issue, we look at personal protective equipment designed for use in mining applications, and then direct our attention to detection and monitoring equipment designed to provide rapid warning against harmful gas concentrations.

Controlling risks associated with accessing mezzanine floors
Our fifth most popular article focussing on safety concerns in industrial environments returns to the issue of musculoskeletal injuries in the workplace, and solutions for reducing the risk to workers when accessing mezzanine floors, and other storage areas 'at height'.

WorkSafe notes that 20 per cent of musculoskeletal injuries in the workplace are caused by falls from height, so here we explore mezzanine flooring systems that incorporate a range of safety features designed to prevent these kinds of accidents. As with all safety-related issues, emphasis is also placed on the need for proper consultation, training and supervision of staff.

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