Pallet Optimisation: Key Considerations for Manual Handling
18 Jun 2015
Pallets can be moved and stacked by hand as well as through the use of equipment such as fork lifts. If your company employs manual handling, then it’s vital that you’ve correctly assessed the risks and use the right procedures and techniques. Failure to do so can run the risk of causing injuries to your employees and damage to the stock. Effective manual-handling procedures can also improve the optimisation of the palletising process.
The use of manual-handling procedures is still an important factor in many logistics companies. It’s not always possible to fit machinery into certain areas, resulting in goods having to be lifted and carried by employees. In some cases, getting items by hand might be quicker. If you’re looking to optimise your pallet procedures, then there are some vital elements you need to consider concerning manual-handling practices.
Risks of Manual Handling
When goods need to be handled manually, there will always be certain risks attached. In the UK about 10% of the major injuries that occur in the workplace are related to manual handling. This has a significant impact on businesses and costs millions every year in lost days and revenue. There are 1.1 million people with musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) that were caused or worsened by activities at work. This results in an estimated 12.3 million days lost each year. The more you can reduce these, the more effective your procedures will be.
It doesn’t have to be a large or heavy load that is being lifted to cause injuries. If an employee has to repeatedly carry out a task, this can be just as damaging. Common injuries caused by manual handling include back and leg problems from lifting goods incorrectly. Employees can also suffer injuries from pallets falling on parts of their body.
By implementing correct manual-handling procedures, you can reduce the risk of injuries in your organisation. Firstly, you need to assess the types of risks that are present and how these can best be mitigated. Look at the health and safety guidelines concerning the types of weights that can be carried, and ensure that your employees are not going over these.
To help reduce the number of manual-handling injuries, you should assess the benefits of any aids that can be used to support employees. These could range from a truck or trolley through to fork lifts or conveyors. Once you have a procedure in place, you should ensure that all your employees understand the processes and how they can support them.
An effective manual-handling procedure doesn’t just have benefits for employees; it can also improve the efficiency levels within your organisation. By optimising the number of pallets you can accommodate in any space, you can lower your transportation and labour costs. The main aim within any logistics environment should be to fit as many products on a pallet as possible whilst maintaining the stability. The optimisation can also be improved by selecting the right pallet size and type.
Optimising the use of pallets is critical in any business. If it also involves the use of manual handling, it’s important to consider how your procedures can not only improve efficiency but also reduce the risk of injuries.