Sitecraft’s comprehensive range of material handling equipment and manual handling equipment includes a large selection of mechanical aids designed to improve workplace safety and increase worker productivity. Mechanical materials handling equipment is widely used to assist workers to move, lift and carry heavy and awkward items in the workplace.
Powered aids include drum handling and drum lifting equipment, pallet movers and lifters, forklift and crane attachments and vacuum lifting devices. Manual handling equipment aids used to assist workers in the safe movement of goods and product include pallet jack/trucks, skid lifters, trolleys, winches and lifting trolleys. When implementing these mechanical aids, they should always be easy and safe for the operators to use and designed to suit the task and load being handled. It is also important when introducing new handling solutions that all necessary training and instruction in the safe use and operation is undertaken.
Tips to Help Mitigate Manual Handling Risk
Even with manual handling equipment, is almost impossible for any work to take place without some physical effort. That work may be a risk to health and safety if the movement of materials is not handled efficiently. The correct use of manual handling equipment has the ability to not only reduce your businesses exposure to OH&S risks, but it can also significantly improve your businesses productivity.
For more information about how our range of manual handling equipment and material handling equipment can help you to reduce manual handling risks in your workplace, please contact your local Sitecraft office. Our head office and warehouse is conveniently located in Melbourne and we service major centres including Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide, Canberra and Tasmania.
Unsafe manual work causes half the injuries in Australian workplaces every year. In Victoria alone there were 13,000 manual handling injuries claims last year. According to SafeWork Australia, the Federal Government’s safety policy body, the national toll is around 95,000 injuries annually. Of all serious claims, 90 per cent were for manual handling injuries. With so many material handling devices available in Australia, which are designed to reduce or eliminate manual handling risks, these statistics are morally unacceptable.
The number of injuries and the high cost of rehabilitation makes manual handling the biggest problem for Australia’s state and territory safety regulators. Every year regulators repeat the message to workplaces that injuries could be prevented by adopting appropriate materials manual handling aids, devices or any one of the many material handling equipment options available.
Manual and material handling solutions can be as simple as buying the right industrial trolley or pallet jack. Solutions to manual handling tasks range from pallet lift tables, warehouse equipment, hydraulic scissor lift tables, pallet lifters and inverters, walkie stackers, pallet positioners, forklift attachments and jibs and vacuum lifters.
For many years Australian regulators insisted employers identify any unsafe manual handling in all tasks, assess the risk and determine an appropriate solution. This process was onerous and difficult to do without some knowledge of ergonomics.
At the same time, regulators observed the growth in the range of manual handling solutions in Australia. They also noted the ease of which organisations could buy materials handling equipment for many tasks associated with most industries. This is one of the reasons Victoria moved in 2007 to drop the regulated risk assessment process. This policy was taken up during the development of the national model laws in 2011 and is now the approach to regulation across Australia.
In OHS terms, manual handling is lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, throwing and carrying. It includes repetitive tasks such as packing, typing, assembling, cleaning and sorting, using hand tools, and operating machinery and equipment. This type of work can result in what is now called “musculoskeletal” injuries. This term covers bad backs from lifting and twisting, overexertion causing strains to upper body, sprains and strains to legs, abdominal tears (hernias), overuse syndromes and chronic pain. Manual handling solutions, therefore, address these OHS safety issues, as well as improving organisational efficiency.
Under the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 employers must have a “safe system of work” in place to prevent risk to their workers.
Safety law relating to manual handling risk in Victoria is found in the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2007 under part 3.1 of the Physical hazards chapter. This part states that employers must identify any task that involves “hazardous manual handling”. If that task poses a risk, they must put a control measure in place that is feasible for that workplace. The OHS Act comes into play here by dictating that the cost of the control measure is not the dominant factor ie the price of materials handling aids. It is just one factor to consider including what is known to be “best practice” and what controls are available.
Advice is set out in WorkSafe Victoria’s Code of Practice for Manual Handling, No 25, 2000. http://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/pages/forms-and-publications/forms-and-publications/manual-handling-code-of-practice-no-25-2000 This code explains the full risk assessment process. It no longer has legal status but is highly regarded for practical advice on this sometimes complex area of OHS. A new compliance code version under the current OHS Act is expected to be issued next year as part of the work to update the Victorian OHS regulations which sunset in 2017.
The national model work safety Acts operating in other states set similar duties for operators of workplaces. Manual handling is dealt with in the various national model regulations. In NSW for instance, it regulates manual handling under its Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011. https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2011L02664 The “Hazardous manual tasks” requirement is in part 4.3 of the hazardous work chapter. This part simply states that the risk must be “managed”. When determining control measures, certain physical factors of tasks and the working environment must be considered. The regulations go further by adding a “plant” element – manufacturers and suppliers of machinery must not provide any product that creates a manual handling risk. Victoria covers such risk in the more generic plant part of its own state regulations.
For advice on implementing the regulations, NSW and other states use the national Code of Practice for Hazardous Manual Tasks 2011, developed by SafeWork Australia. This has legal status under the NSW WHS Act and provides the most current advice on managing manual handling risk. The code has no status in Victoria but adds to “best practice” so is relevant guidance for Victorian workplaces.
Our popular hydraulic scissor lift tables provide a safe and easy alternative to workers lifting heavy materials themselves. These versatile lifting tables for sale are used to raise and lower heavy and awkward materials and equipment. They can be custom manufactured to suit almost every handling requirement. From low profile, which can be loaded with a hand pallet truck, right through to a high lift tables that can rise meters from the floor. They are also available in stainless steel construction for demanding and corrosive environments.
Our material handling equipment solutions don’t end with our Scissor Lift Tables, either! Sitecraft’s pallet jacks for sale are available in many configurations, including short, narrow and low height models. Our pallet jacks are also available in a variety of materials, with our range including stainless steel and galvanised steel hand pallet jacks that are ideal for use with clean rooms and highly corrosive applications.
Our powered/electric pallet trucks are designed for quick and easy handling of heavy pallets in large warehouse environments. We also stock high lift pallet trucks that can improve the ease of materials lifting.
Sitecraft’s Quickstak is a battery/electric smart walkie stacker. These feature a self levelling pallet stacking device, which automatically lifts and lowers the fork tynes, enabling loading and unloading from the pallet at a safe working height. As far as material handling devices are concerned, walkie stackers are used extensively at the end of production and processing lines when boxes and packaged goods need to be stacked on pallets.
Sitecraft also offers spring-operated, self-levelling turntables that are ideal for pallets (pallet lifting) and materials lifting. The popular Palift pallet lifter is available with a range of spring combinations, enabling it to be used with different pallet weights. It’s also available in either a durable galvanised or stainless steel finish, making it ideal for sterile food processing areas. This versatile material handling equipment also minimises the chances of back injury to operators while loading or unloading palletised goods. In addition, the Palift is available with optional castors for easy mobility.
Drum handling equipment is used to safely lift, turn and decant from steel and plastic drums. Our range includes battery/hydraulic and air operated units to create intrinsically safe environments. Drum lifters and rotators are also available for use with forklifts.
Sitecraft also supplies a comprehensive range of forklift attachments for sale. You can buy container ramps, forklift jibs, cranes, waste tipping bins, fork extension pockets, and safety cages. Forklift mounted brooms are used for many heavy duty sweeping operations.
We also stock wheelie bin tippers that are ideal for emptying wheelie bins into larger skip bins. These manual handling devices are designed to suit a wide range of bin sizes and configurations. Wheelie bin tippers and wheelie bin lifters can be supplied for use with mains power, battery/electric, or air powered. A solar powered bin lifter and bin tipper unit is also now available for remote locations where other power sources may not be available. One of our popular bin tipper models, The Mega Dumpa, is specially designed for tipping large mobile dump bins and skips. Custom built bin lifting and bin tipping units are also available for manufacturing industries, ideal for tipping raw materials and ingredients onto production lines.
Movexx tow tugs are one of Europe’s leading powered handling devices. These powered pedestrian tugs are used to assist in pushing or tugging heavy trolleys and loads around. Sitecraft can supply these in towing capacities ranging from 1000 kg up to 50 tonnes. We also offer stainless steel tugs that can be used in food and pharmaceutical manufacturing industries.
In addition to our wide range of handling and lifting solutions, we also offer other material handling equipment devices, designed to lift materials, such as low profile scissor lift tables, battery operated lifters, goods hoists, and conveyors. All of these materials lifting aids help assist in providing safe handling solutions to a wide range of industries and applications.
Air bearings or skids are innovative handling and lifting devices that raise and support loads on a cushion of air. This unique air lifting equipment operate like a hovercraft. Sitecraft’s air bearings feature a urethane flexible diaphragm located beneath the load support surface. As compressed air is released onto the diaphragm and passes through the small holes located on the underside, a cushion of air is created lifting the load of the ground. Air castors have many advantages over traditional rollers or load skates. They allow omni-directional movement for maximum flexibility, cushioned near friction less movement with extremely high load capacities. Air operated handling and lifting equipment includes air utility platforms and pneumatic/air operated pallet trucks.