Materials Handling Equipment

Sitecraft’s comprehensive range includes a large selection of warehouse equipment designed to improve workplace safety and increase worker productivity. Mechanical equipment is used to assist workers to move, lift and carry items. When implementing these mechanical aids, they should always be easy for operators to use, designed to suit the task and load being handled, suitable for the work environment and introduced with all necessary training and instruction in use.

Guidelines to help mitigate Manual Handling Risk

It 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.

It is not surprising then that 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.

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 to reduce the risk, or even eliminate it completely.

A solution can be as simple as the right trolley or lifting equipment. The range is diverse, from scissor lift trolleys, scissor lift tables, mobile lifters, bin lifter/rotators, slewing lifters and jibs, powered tugs, pallet lifters and stackers, pallet positioners, forklift accessories, chain blocks and hoists, vacuum lifters, mobile conveyors, elevators conveyors and stock chasers.

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 materials handling equipment for many tasks in many 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.

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 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. 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.

Lift Tables

Our popular hydraulic scissor lift tables provide a fantastic 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, and 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 table that can rise meters from the floor, we stock an extensive range of options to choose from.

Pallet Trucks & Scissor Lift Pallet Trucks

Our pallet jacks are available in many configurations, including short, narrow and low height models. They’re 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 pallet trucks are designed for quick and easy handling of heavy pallets in large warehouse environments. We also stock scissor lift pallet trucks that can improve the ease of materials lifting.

The Sitecraft quickstak is a battery/electric smart walkie stacker. These feature a self levelling device which automatically lifts and lowers fork tynes, enabling loading and unloading from the pallet at a safe working height. These are used extensively at the end of production and processing lines when boxes and packaged goods need to be stacked on pallets.

Pallet Lifters

Sitecraft also offers spring-operated, self-levelling turntables that are ideal for pallets 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.

Manual Handling Devices

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. This includes container ramps, forklift jibs and cranes, waste tipping bins, fork extension pockets, and safety cages.

We also stock wheelie bin tippers that are perfect for emptying wheelie bins into larger skip bins. These manual handling devices are designed to suit a wide range of bin sizes and configurations. Bin tippers can be supplied for use with mains power, battery/electric, or air powered. A solar powered unit is also now available for remote locations where other power sources may not be available. One of our popular models, The Mega Dumpa, is specially designed for tipping large mobile dump bins and skips. Custom built units are also available for manufacturing industries, ideal for tipping raw materials and ingredients onto production lines.

Lift Materials with Ease

Movexx tow tugsare 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 1000kg 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 material handling equipment, we also offer other devices designed to lift materials, such as low profile scissor lift tables, battery operated lifters, goods hoists, and skid lifters. All of these devices deliver customised material handling solutions to industries across the board.

Air/ Pneumatic Handling Equipment

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 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 frictionless movement with extremely high load capacities. Air operated handling and lifting equipment includes air utility platforms and pneumatic/air operated pallet trucks.

To learn more, about Sitecraft air castor systems and air lifting equipment or to obtain a quote, contact our expert sales team today. We have three conveniently located warehouses in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. This allows us to provide Australia wide service.

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