Safety and Risk management: Warehouse

Description Scenario You are the Safety and Risk Manager for a large distribution warehouse. The company has recently won two major contracts in succession and with increased production has been required to employ more staff and change the packaging of goods coming into the warehouse. Staff on the two new packing lines stand and work at fixed height benches and are cutting open boxes, removing and packing hand held products into new boxes. The boxes are then are placed onto the conveyor belt line and two employees take the boxes from the line and stack them onto two pallets on the ground at the end of the line. The job of pallet stacking is rotated among those working on the line. Once the pallets have been stacked to a height of around 1.5m a fork lift truck removes them and brings new pallets to be filled. You are asked to carry out an ‘ergonomic assessment’ to identify any issues and suggest potential solutions. Note You are free to make further assumptions about the design of the packing line and process to allow discussion of hazards, risks and controls. If applicable, such assumptions should be made known to the reader. Part A Detail what ergonomic assessments you would you carry out noting: (i) specific tasks you would focus on and why (ii) suggested ergonomic improvements Part B Shortly afterwards you return from annual leave to discover the Production and Facilities Managers decided unilaterally to order, purchase and install mechanical lifting aids for the end of each line. They are both unhappy as production seems to have slowed down rather than increased, and the lifting aids are not always being used. They report to you that a member of staff “pressed the wrong button and dropped a number of boxes”. Fortunately, they just missed a member of staff’s foot. You are asked to speak with staff to “fix the problem and get them to use the lifting aides properly”. During initial discussions, a number of staff say they feel the lifting aide takes longer than manual handling and also is too complicated to use. What has gone wrong? Write a summary report detailing (i) the ergonomic approach that would have improved the purchase, installation and ultimate use of the mechanical lifting aid (ii) any potential breaches of health and safety law that could arise from the way the machinery has been brought into use

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