Equipment designed to reduce manual handling injuries

MLA Holdings Pty Ltd

Tuesday, 10 March, 2015

Equipment designed to reduce manual handling injuries

Manual handling injuries are not limited to those sustained by lifting or carrying heavy loads. A person can be injured when handling objects in a variety of ways, including pulling, pushing, holding or restraining.

According to the Australian Workers Compensation Statistics 2011-12, the most common of these work-related injuries are sprains and strains, accounting for 43% of all serious compensations claims. Between 2000 and 2012, 20% of these serious compensations claims were a direct result of back strains and injuries. In this same time period, 21% of all weeks lost from work were as a result of back injuries.

Safe Work Australia suggests that back injuries are most common in the transport and storage, and manufacturing industries.

MLA Holdings says an effective way to reduce the high rates of back injuries in these industries is to minimise or stop the use of manual hand pallet jacks when moving heavy loads. Manual pallet jacks can make significant physical demands on operators in confined areas, particularly when heavy loads have to be pulled or pushed using muscle power alone. If moving loads greater then 500 kg, the company suggests a battery-powered version should be considered.

It is the effort involved in starting and stopping a load that results in most back injuries. Mitsubishi’s Forklift Briefing website states that the maximum figure for safely starting or stopping a load is an effort of 20 kg for men and 15 kg for women. Testing of hand pallet jacks shows that starting a 500 kg load from a stationary position takes an effort of 23.3 kg. Increase the load to 2000 kg, and the force required is 49.6 kg, much greater than the official guidelines recommend. This is why many back injuries occur and many hours of work are lost at great cost to Australian businesses.

While initially more costly than hand pallet jacks, electric power pallet movers are designed to be a safer and more cost-effective solution in the long run. With the right equipment specification and operator training, electric power pallet movers can reduce the risk of operator injury, reduce fatigue, improve operator performance and increase the efficiency of the operation.

The Mitsubishi Premia power pallet movers are designed to make light work of transporting loads, in a safe and easy manner. The power pallet movers provide a solution to safe horizontal movement of heavy loads while minimising the risk of back injury that may be associated with the use of manual hand pallet jacks. Acceleration, top speed and braking characteristics are fully programmable to suit each individual user’s needs. When the control handle is pulled all the way down or up, the truck automatically stops. Furthermore, when the emergency button is activated, the truck immediately stops. For tight turning in confined spaces, the Mitsubishi Premia power pallet movers have a ‘handle-up’ operation feature, making them suitable for use in containers and the back of trucks.

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