One of our biggest customers, a leading Information Management Company, was concerned about their standard on-site operating procedure for retrieving document storage boxes. The boxes were stored on shelving which cannot be reached from floor level and the existing method, using aircraft style safety steps, was creating significant manual handling difficulties, making it unsuitable for the application.
Action Handling visited the site to view the issues first-hand. The main risk factor we identified was the hand-to-lower-back distance, particularly when reaching over the handrail to place and retrieve boxes. The vertical lift region, waist twisting and postural constraints also contributed. After many submitted designs, it was agreed that a prototype working platform would be manufactured for a trial-run to establish feedback from staff and modify if required.
Our first suggestion was a variable height work platform, but after further investigation into the construction (either plywood or steel chequer plate) it was agreed that this would raise further health and safety issues, as well as new working-at-height procedures for the client. So we proposed a fixed platform model instead, high enough to allow access to the third level of racking.
With a fixed platform, our main concern was getting the height set correctly for all staff. We also needed to ensure a minimum guardrail height, preventing a person falling over or through the rail. Another obstacle to overcome was the removal of boxes from racking. If the handrail was set incorrectly it would become an obstruction and the operator would not be able to remove or replace boxes, negating the intended use of the steps.
We supplied our standard work platform in order to establish working heights for staff and height of guardrails, thus ensuring there was no obstruction for operators when picking or placing boxes on the racking. This enabled us to get a “mean average” for all staff to ensure the working platform would be suitable for everyone. To improve safety we decided to move away from 4 castors with separate footbrakes and go ahead with a manual parking brake mechanism be incorporated in the design. This ensured the unit was secure when in use or idle
A total of 22 custom-made order picking trolleys were supplied, meeting very positive reviews!
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