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Success with Ergonomics
American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) and
Pulp and Paper Safety Association (PPSA)

 
Company: AF&PA member company
   
Industry: Corrugated container sheet plant NAICS Code 322211
   
Task: Replacing Wire Spool on Baler
   
Employees: 80


Success Brief:

 
A corrugated container sheet plant purchased a spool lifter to lift 50 pound spools of baler wire. The lifter was used when replacing an empty roll on the baler. This reduced the potential back and neck strains since workers did not need to lift and support heavy weights during the change out process.

 

The Problem

The baler operator has the responsibility of replacing the empty baling wire spools. The new spools weigh 50 pounds and are stored in a box on the floor. The task of lifting a new spool from the floor onto the baler spindle requires heavy lifting while in a bent forward posture. Lifting and supporting heavy loads while in awkward bending postures increases the risk of injury to the low back.

The Solution

A spool lifter (175 pound capacity) was purchased (Figure 1), eliminating the need for the employee to lift and support a heavy load in a bent forward posture when retrieving spools from storage, and when loading the 50 pound spools on the baler. As can be seen in Figure 2 the spools to be loaded (yellow hexagons) can be in several locations on the machine. The use of the lifter allows the spool to be supported at a wide variety of heights during the refill process. These lifters can be obtained from a number of vendors at approximately $1,800.
 
Figure 1: Spool Lifter
Figure 1: Spool Lifter
Figure 2: Employee replacing baler wire spool
Figure 2: Employee replacing baler wire spool

The Impact

There was good buy-in and satisfaction from employees because the spool lifter eliminated the awkward lifting. Since purchasing the spool lifter, no injuries have occurred. By purchasing this device, the potential risk of injury and associated costs from lifting and supporting heavy loads have been avoided.

Source: AF&PA; PPSA (May 2008)