We were able to substantially eliminate the significant manual material handling activities associated with the transport and installation of coils of baling wire on a baler through the use of a hand truck with a height adjustable lift table (toe plate).
A boxed coil of baling wire weighs 100 pounds. The boxes of wire coils come in from the supplier on pallets. Each coil must be removed from its box and placed on one of the spindles on the baler designed to support the wire coil as wire is drawn from the coil and fed into the baler. The spindles are located 2 to 4 feet above floor level. Limited physical access to the baler side frame prohibits use of a forklift to handle the wire coils. In the past, an employee would remove a spool of wire from the box (usually at whatever height the box happened to be on the pallet), lift the spool, and manually carry it to the baler. At the baler, the employee would support the spool while positioning and installing it on the horizontal spindle, either alone or with the assistance of another employee. To reduce the amount of deep bending and lifting from low heights, the pallet of boxed coils was raised by stacking it on top of an empty pallet. An ergonomics assessment suggested that the task posed a potential risk of associated musculoskeletal disorders in the back and/or the upper extremities.
A hand truck with a height adjustable lift table was purchased to transport position and install the wire coils on the baler. The following procedure for transport and installation of the wire coils was developed and communicated to affected employees when the equipment was provided:
The use of a hand truck with an adjustable lift table to transport and install coils of baling wire has significantly reduced the force and awkward postures required to move and install the wire coils, resulting in a significant reduction in the risk of associated musculoskeletal disorders. Additional measures that might be considered would include placing the pallet on a mechanical device that would allow it to be raised and lowered (e.g., pallet jack, scissors lift).
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