You are on page 1of 31

GUIDE to PREVENTING INJURY from

PACKING and UNPACKING SHIPPING


CONTAINERS and ENCLOSED TRAILERS
A MANUAL HANDLING BLACKSPOT
Preventing injury during packing or unpacking shipping containers and enclosed trailers
WORKSAFE VICTORIA

PAGE 1

CONTENTS
Section 1 Packing and Unpacking Shipping Containers and Enclosed trailers
An Introduction

Page 3

Status of this document


Why this Guide is Important
Who should use this Guide
What is involved with packing and unpacking containers and enclosed trailers?
How to use this Guide

Page 4
Page 5
Page 5
Page 7
Page 9

Section 2
Comparative Chart

Pages 10-12

Section 3 Case Studies


How to Use this Section
1 Packing and unpacking of small bags, boxes and cartons
2 Packing and unpacking of large items
3 Packing and unpacking of problematic items

Pages 13-14
Pages 15-18
Pages 19-22
Pages 23-25

Supporting Documents
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

Glossary of Terms
Finding and fixing health and safety problems
Examples of Mechanical Aids
Suggested Dock Length using Different Loading Equipment
What Duties do Employers, Employees and Contractors Have?
Further Information & Contact the Victorian W orkCover Authority

Page 26
Page 27
Page 28
Page 29
Page 30
Page 32

PAGE 2

SECTION 1
PACKING AND UNPACKING SHIPPING CONTAINERS and
ENCLOSED TRAILERS
A Manual Handling Blackspot

An Introduction
Packing and unpacking shipping containers and pantechnicons (enclosed semi-trailers) is a
manual handling blackspot associated with severe sprain or strain injuries.
An analysis of WorkCover claims data indicates that from July 1999 to May 2002 there were 289
standard claims and 366 minor claims in Victoria as a result of packing and unpacking shipping
containers and enclosed trailers. These injuries occurred across manufacturing, construction,
retail, transport, storage and labour hire industries and cost those industries $9.2 million with the
average claim being $31,900.
For workers, this type of injury can mean pain and discomfort affecting not only their work but
their everyday lives, families and relationships. For employers, these injuries may lead to
WorkCover claims and increased premiums, as well as the disruption of having staff unable to
work.
Much can be done to manage the hazards that cause these injuries.

Q. WHAT IS HAZARD MANAGEMENT?


A. Hazard management is a simple three step process:
1. Identify hazardous manual handling;
2. Assess risk (including postures, movements, forces, duration and frequency, and
environmental factors);
3. Control the risk i.e. eliminate or reduce the risk.
In short, FIND the problem, and then FIX it.
A range of solutions are already being used in workplaces, many companies have invested in
mechanical handling aids, some of which appear in this document. All workplaces in the delivery
chain should focus their resources into putting physical risk controls into the workplace as part of
their normal operations. If you have any queries about what this means for you or your workplace,
please contact your nearest WorkSafe office see the back page of this document for contact
details.
This publication refers to various Laws and Regulations which explain the legal requirements in
more detail. For information on where to obtain copies, please see Further Information in this
publication.

PAGE 3

Status of this document


This document has been prepared by WorkSafe Victoria to provide practical help to people
involved in the supply chain of packing and unpacking containers employers, contractors,
employees and customers. Solutions that are currently being used within workplaces are shown
in the form of a Comparative Chart which grades different activities in terms of their risk, and
through a series of real-life Case Studies. Both offer a guide to risk assessment of packing of
various items and provide effective risk controls.

WorkSafes guidance material is published to assist employers and others to understand their
duties and, in many cases, to provide specific guidance on how hazards and risks may be
controlled. The guidance material does not add to or change the duties imposed by the
Occupational Health and Safety Act or its Regulations. The material does not have the same
status as a Code of Practice approved by the Minister under the Occupational Health and Safety
Act.
Such guidance material is one of many sources of information that contributes to the state of
knowledge about a hazards and risk and the ways of removing or mitigating the hazard and risk;
this is one of the planks of the definition of practicable which qualifies the extent to which an
employers obligation under provisions such as section 21 of the Occupational Health and Safety
Act must be met.
An employer should have regard to any relevant published guidance material when addressing
hazards and risks. However, information in published guidance material, including material
published by WorkSafe, is not necessarily the only way in which a hazard or risk may be
adequately addressed. An employer may choose to use other effective control measures in order
to satisfy his or her regulatory duties.

PAGE 4

WHY THIS GUIDE IS IMPORTANT


Background Issues
The packing and unpacking shipping containers and enclosed trailers occurs in most industry
sectors including freight, wholesale trade and agencies, distribution centres, importers and
manufacturers.
Shipping containers and enclosed trailers are designed for the transport of items by road, rail or
sea not for their ease of manual packing. They are large storage objects with most containers
either 40 foot (6.1m) or 20 foot (3m) long and commonly eight foot six inches (2.6m) high. The
container height is beyond the reach of most people but loads are required to be stacked to fill its
entire volume.

As the following example shows, the lack of safe work practices can have tragic consequences
and result in court convictions and serious penalties for those who fail to provide a safe
workplace.

AUSTRALIAN MARBLE COMPANY PTY LTD

Two employees of the defendant company were removing timber shoring struts from within a shipping
container. The shoring was supporting a load of marble sheeting. The load shifted without warning, trapping
one employee and causing fatal injuries. The second employee received minor injuries.
In passing sentence, Magistrate Max Cashmore noted that the Act places obligations on companies, such as
the Australian Marble Company; to assess a load like the one they were faced with in this case before
unpacking. It was unsafe for the company to unload in this manner on this occasion. The employees lacked
the necessary information, instruction, training and supervision. The circumstances clearly called for close
inspection. The failure to undertake a proper assessment led to horrific consequences. The Magistrate
considered this a fairly flagrant breach of the Act and noted that the supporting structure (provided by the
US suppliers) was inadequate. He gave the company some credit, given that they had promoted a different
method of packaging since this incident.
Magistrate Cashmore further stated that he would take into account of the fact that it was a small company
with a previous good record, and that the individuals behind the company had contributed extensively to the
community and had a good record.

Result: Convicted of breaches of the OH&S Act.

Who should use this Guide?


This publication has been produced for all those legally responsible for health and safety when
packing and unpacking shipping containers and enclosed trailers. Those with legal duties include
employers, contractors, labour hire agencies, freight forwarders, consignors, customers and
employees. For details of these legal duties refer to Appendix 5

PAGE 5

INJURY STATISTICS
Source: Victorian WorkCover Authority claims data July 1999 to May 2002.

Analysis of WorkCover claims data indicates that from July 1999 until May 2002, 60%
(173) of all Victorian standard claims resulting from packing and unpacking shipping
containers and enclosed trailers were in the transport and storage industry. Truck,
delivery and forklift drivers together with store-persons suffered over half those injuries.
In Victoria, 70% (201) of all claims resulting from packing and unpacking shipping
containers and enclosed trailers were associated with a sprain or strain injury and 9%
(27) resulted in a fracture or dislocation.
These claims cost Victorian industry $9.2 million with an average claims cost of $31,943.
19% (55) of container packing and unpacking related claims in the transport, storage and
trade industry of this nature result in long periods off work typically, more than 50 days.
A breakdown of the activities causing the injuries, based upon analysis of claims details,
is as follows:
ACTIVITY
Access to/from Container
Forklift incidents
Packing/unpacking
*Preparing container
TOTAL

TOTAL COST

NUMBER OF
CLAIMS

AVERAGE
COST

$411,679

24

$17,153

8%

$54,085
$7,641,344
$1,124,324
$9,231,432

4
208
53
289

$13,521
$36,737
$21,214
$31,943

1%
72%
18%
100%

Percentages

*Preparing container includes opening and closing doors and operating trailer landing legs.

PAGE 6

What is involved in packing and unpacking containers and enclosed


trailers?
The following activities may occur when packing and unpacking containers and enclosed trailers:

Selecting items to be packed and delivering items to the container Items to be


packed are selected and transported close to the container.

Transporting items to rear of the container Items are selected and moved into the
container as close to the loading face as possible. The packing starts at the rear of the
container and the moves to the front until the entire container is full.

Stacking items within container Items are stacked firstly on one row on the floor at
the rear of the container. Items are stacked on top of this first row until there is no more
space at the top so the loading face is full and the next row is started. This continues until
the container is full. If items can be stepped on, a row may be started before the loading
face is full so that the top of the container can be reached.

Removing goods from stacks within the container Items are removed from the
loading face within the container. The front face is removed first which then exposes the
next stack and this continues until the container is empty. If items can be stepped on, the
bottom row may stay until the top of the next stack is removed.

Stacking goods onto pallets Once items are removed from the loading face they can
be stacked onto a pallet for later storage or transport.

Transport of goods out of container Items not removed using mechanical aids are
carried out of the container by hand.

Other tasks Actions may be required to secure or release load binders or to install or
remove false floors within the container. Actions may also be required to open or close
doors and locking systems and to install or remove barriers or nets placed inside doors to
protect persons opening the doors.

Items being packed or unpacked


Items to be packed or unpacked from shipping containers and enclosed trailers can include:

Cartons that can be handled by one person

Bagged products

Large items, such as whitegoods, electrical goods and furniture

Long items such as sheets of plasterboard, timber packs, carpet rolls and lengths of steel

Unstable loads that need to be secured from movement such as partially filled drums

Awkward heavy loads such as granite and marble, steel billets and rolls

Awkward objects such as large machines and sculptures.

PAGE 7

Risk of injury
The possible injury risk associated with these activities is increased by the following factors:

Awkward postures e.g. to stack or remove items from above shoulder height or below
knee height, to fit items into spaces to utilise all space within the container, to stack items
on pallets.

Sustained movement e.g. to carry items in and out of the container, to climb over items
to reach the top of the container.

Repetitive application of force e.g. to stack items on pallet or in container, to carry items
in and out of container, to push trolleys in and out of container.

Long duration e.g. packing, unpacking or stacking pallets for more than half an hour at
a time or more than two hours over the whole day.

High force actions involving a large amount of physical force; e.g. lifting heavy or
awkward items, pushing trolley or hand pallet jack on a slope, removing items wedged
into crevices.

Environmental conditions e.g. weather, such as cold or hot conditions and rain, and
uneven, loose or slippery floors.

The frequency of handling also affects the potential of being injured. The occasional movement of
a single large or awkward item places people at risk of a sprain or strain injury. More frequent
handling of such items will increase the risk further.

Sources of risk
In the packing and unpacking of containers and enclosed trailers, there are a number of sources
of risk. These are detailed in the Case Studies starting at page 13.
Packing and unpacking items from other types of vehicles or from refrigerated containers is not
covered in this document. The legal obligations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1985
and the Occupational Health and Safety (Manual Handling) Regulations 1999 still apply in these
situations.

PAGE 8

How to use this Guide


This document uses two methods to demonstrate the ways of reducing risks when packing or
unpacking shipping containers or enclosed trailers:

Method 1 Comparative Chart of Tasks and Issues


A Comparative chart (see pages 10-12) provides a colour coded comparison between low risk
practices and those where there is a high risk of injury occurring.
Specialist WorkSafe Victoria staff have conducted risk assessments of packing and unpacking
shipping containers and enclosed trailers using the Risk Assessment Worksheet and further
methods detailed in the Manual Handling Code of Practice 2000.
The Comparative Chart assists you to identify high risk tasks and then make an assessment of
your workplace to implement safer work practices.

Method 2 Case Studies


We have developed a series of Case Studies which outline a range of common objects packed or
unpacked into shipping containers and enclosed trailers. The Case Studies work through the
process of risk assessment using the Code of Practice for Manual Handling 2000 and outline the
potential causes of injury and some options to eliminate or reduce risk.
By assessing how safely your workplace rates in the Comparative Chart on pages 10-12 and then
reading the appropriate Case Study (pages 15-25) for your activity, you will have a sound basis
for risk assessment and development of risk controls.

PAGE 9

SECTION 2
The Comparative Chart is a summary of identified hazards and
an assessment of risks in the packing and unpacking of
shipping containers and enclosed trailers. The main
components of packing and unpacking have been colour coded
according to the risk.
The practices in the green column
should be regarded as the target
for all workplaces.

The practices in the amber


column are less effective in
reducing risk, as compared to the
green column, and should be
treated as interim solutions only.

The practices in the red column


are high risk; an employer who
allows those practices to be used
is likely to be in breach of
Occupational Health and Safety
legislation.

The values in the Comparative Chart are based upon the situations in the Case Studies and
provide guidance as to the level of risk in those situations. If applying the values to other
situations, variations of up to 10% may be considered as attaining a similar level of risk.
Employers, health and safety representatives and employees should cooperate to determine
what risks are actually present in the workplace. A decision then has to be made, from the results
of the risk assessment, as to what is practicable for the workplace. If the practices in the red
column are being used, an attempt should be made to implement one or more of the practices in
the green column straight away. If that is not practicable, corresponding practices in the amber
column should be put in place as an interim solution until such time as one or more control from
the green column can be implemented.
If the risk controls implemented involve the use of any manual handling technique or the use of a
mechanical aid, ensure that information, training or instruction is provided together with
appropriate supervision, in accordance with Section 21(2) (e) of the Occupational Health and
Safety Act 1985 and Part 13.5 of the Manual Handling Code of Practice.
In summary, try following these steps:
1. Look at the practices in the workplace.
2. Find where these practices fit in the Comparative Chart. (pages 10-12)
3. Consider the options of how to move towards the green.
4. Compare your situation with the Case Studies. (pages 13-25)
5. Implement the changes necessary to achieve a safe workplace.

PAGE 10

HOW DOES YOUR WORKPLACE RATE?


PAGE 6 DELIVERING LARGE GAS CYLINDERS DELIVERING LARGE GAS CYLINDERS PAGE 7

PACKING /
UNPACKING

GREEN (LOW RISK):


Less likely to result in injury

RED (HIGH RISK):

Some risk of injury short


term controls/additional
controls required.

Very likely to cause injury

One person packing or


unpacking pallets or containers
by hand lifting 25kg bags/small
boxes between knee and
shoulder height at a rate of not
more than once every minute.

One person lifting 40kg


bags/small boxes any height by
hand.

Sliding 40kg bags/small boxes


over an edge and lowering them
where the persons hands are
not above shoulder height or
below knee height.

One person lowering 40kg


bags/small boxes where the
persons hands are above
shoulder height or below knee
height.

Providing platform or orderpicking ladder to avoid lifting or


stacking above shoulder height.

Lifting 15kg bags/small boxes


above shoulder height or from
below knee height not more
than once every minute.

Lifting 25kg bags/small boxes


above shoulder height or below
knee height more than once
every 5 minutes.

Providing height adjustable


reach conveyor to load/unload
objects directly to loading face.

Carrying 25kg bags/small boxes


no more than 5 metres at a rate
of not more than once every
minute.

Carrying 40kg bags/small boxes


any distance.

Using powered forklift or


powered pallet truck to move
pallets.

Moving a partially loaded pallet


truck/jack by hand on any
gradient. (Refer Appendix 4:
Suggested Dock Length using
different Loading Equipment).

Moving a fully loaded pallet


truck/jack by hand on any
gradient.

Hand packing/unpacking in
comfortable temperatures with
continuous airflow

Agreed work/rest regime in


place for hand packing/
unpacking in high or low
temperatures.

Continuous hand packing or


unpacking in high temperatures.

Agreed work\rest regime in


place for hand packing/
unpacking while wearing
impervious coveralls and/or
respirators.

Continuous hand packing or


unpacking while wearing
impervious coveralls and/or
respirators.

- recommended controls

Bags,
Boxes or
Cartons

AMBER (MEDIUM RISK):

Palletising the load and using a


forklift or powered hand truck to
load/unload.
Packing/ unpacking objects by
hand lifting 10 kg bags/small
boxes between knee and
shoulder height at a rate of no
more than twice per minute per
person.
Providing goods in bulk bags
and using a forklift to
load/unload.
Placing goods on slip-sheets
and load/unload using forklift
with push-pull attachment.

Providing pallet lifter and


turntable to load/unload
bags/small boxes onto conveyor
at waist height.

One person packing or


unpacking pallets or containers
by hand lifting 25kg bags/small
boxes between knee and
shoulder height at a rate of 5
per minute or more.

Carrying 25kg bags/small boxes


more than 5 metres at a rate of
more than once per minute.

Carrying 15kg bags/small boxes


up to 5 metres at a rate no more
than once per minute.

GLOW RISK):
RED (HIGH RISK):

PAGE 11

PACKING/
UNPACKING

GREEN (LOW RISK):

AMBER (MEDIUM RISK):

RED (HIGH RISK):

Heavy or
Problematic
Objects

Using a forklift or crane to load


heavy or problematic objects
onto pallets or skids.

Two or more persons handling


heavy or problematic object and
no person in team:
- lifting more than 15kg (e.g. 4
persons lifting 55kg television or
window frame); and
their hands not going above
shoulder height or below knee
height.

Two or more people handling


heavy or problematic object and
any person in team:

Using forklift or electric pallet


jack to move heavy or
problematic objects while on
pallets or skids.
Using a forklift with grab-plate
attachment to load heavy or
problematic objects into
container.

Securing load bindings prior to


packing into container to
eliminate risk of crush injury.

People at risk of serious injury


or death while inside container
securing or releasing load
bindings or braces:
- If load could have moved in
transport; or
- If load may be unstable after
packing into container.

Releasing load bindings after


removal from the container.

Handling
False floor

Using mechanical aids to place


floor in place.
Using trolley to move false floor.
No persons being under
suspended load or below false
floor supporting a load.

Handling
Container
door

Inspecting and maintaining door


and lock before opening or
closing door.
Using barrier or net inside
container doors to protect
persons from being hit by items
when doors opened.

Preparing
trailer

Hydraulic or pneumatic
operation of trailer landing legs.

Two people installing false floor.

One person installing false floor.

Two people carrying false floor


providing no person lifts more
than 15kg and their hands not
going above shoulder height or
below knee height.

One person carrying 25kg false


floor.

Using lever or other hand tool to


assist operating door or lock.

Opening or closing door or lock


by hand where there is rust,
damage or other reason that
may pose difficulty.

Using two or more persons to


open or close door.

Prime mover removed from


trailer before packing/unpacking
occurs.
System of work ensuring that
the container and trailer will
support the weight of forklift of
other such mechanical aid and
the load.

Person being under false floor if


that floor is supporting a load.

Occasionally operating crank


handle of trailer landing legs.

Packing/unpacking of container
on trailer without landing legs,
trailer stand or other system in
place to prevent the trailer
tipping or otherwise becoming
unstable.

Red and green lights to indicate


to driver and dock staff that
container is ready to be moved.

Packing/unpacking of container
on trailer at loading dock where
there is no system to stop the
trailer moving from the loading
dock due to vehicles and
equipment entering the
container or from being driven
away from the loading dock
during packing/unpacking.

Trailer stand inserted using


mechanical aid.
Trailer physically secured to
loading dock prior to packing or
unpacking.

- their hands not going above


shoulder height or below knee
height
Person being under load whilst
load is being suspended by
forklift or crane

Using a trolley with four large


diameter wheels to move heavy
or problematic objects on
continuous surfaces.

Securing
Load

- lifting more than 25kg


(e.g. 4 people handling 110kg
refrigerator or bundle of
steel); and

Packing/unpacking of container
using forklift or other such
mechanical handling device
without consideration of whether
the floor of the container will
sustain the weight of the
mechanical handling device and
the load.

RED (HIGH RISK):


PAGE 8 DELIVERING LARGE GAS CYLINDERS DELIVERING LARGE GAS CYLINDERS PAGE 9

PAGE 12

SECTION 3

CASE STUDIES
How to use this Section
This chapter looks at the full range of activities involved in packing and unpacking
shipping containers and enclosed trailers.
Case Studies describe three common types of objects, their identified risk factors and
recommended control solutions.
Each Case Study includes information under the following headings:
1.
2.
3.
4.

Activity Description;
Risk Assessment;
Sources of Risk; and
Solutions - Good Practices to reduce risk of Injury/Options for Risk Control

Other Hazards to Consider


A risk is defined as: the likelihood of injury or illness arising from exposure to any hazard.
A hazard is defined as: the potential to cause injury, illness or disease.
When assessing risks and selecting risk controls, consideration should be given to other
significant risks associated with packing and unpacking containers. These include, but are not
limited to factors outlined in the following table.
Chemicals

Packaged chemicals in shipping containers may lead to unsafe atmospheres within the
container, should leakage or seepage occur. The nature of this risk may require persons
packing or unpacking to wear personal protective equipment, such as impervious coveralls
and respirators, which may increase their risk of injury during manual handling.
The hazards of chemicals are covered in other WorkSafe Victoria guidance documents.

Fumigation

Chemicals used in fumigation, to prevent pests and diseases spreading between states or
countries, may be a risk to the health of people unpacking containers if they have not been
cleared or chemical residues are present.

Traffic Management

Traffic management risks exist when forklifts, cranes, pallet movers, prime movers and
other vehicles are operating where pedestrians are present.
No persons should be inside a shipping container or enclosed trailer with a forklift
operating.
There are specific hazards with the use of forklifts that are covered in other WorkSafe
Victoria guidance documents.

Vehicle Emissions

Petrol, diesel and LP Gas powered forklifts and trucks give out a range of hazardous
exhaust emissions. There is a risk of fume build up and the potential for oxygen depletion
during packing or unpacking.

Crush injuries

Heavy, awkward items and equipment pose a serious risk if they topple or fall during
transit, packing or unpacking.
Persons opening doors are particularly at risk of being hit by unrestrained items.

Cold storage

Risks associated with work in the cold should be addressed if the container is refrigerated
or is stored in a cold environment.

Heat

Containers exposed to the sun can store that heat and pose a risk to persons unloading.

Persons under

There is a risk of loads dropping or falling. Loads must never be suspended above people.

PAGE 13

suspended loads

People loading or unloading must not work under false floors supporting a load.

Contract staff issues

Lack of induction and communication with contract staff from labour hire companies may
introduce risk through inadequate knowledge and supervision in safe systems of work.

Stability of Container

Stability and suitability of trailer legs during packing and unpacking need to be addressed
or there is a risk of container toppling or the trailer collapsing.

Slip, trips and falls

Falling from the load, dock, ramp or from the container or enclosed trailer is always a risk
of injury. A slip, trip or fall when manually handling a heavy and awkward object or climbing
to reach those objects is also a risk.

See also WorkSafe Victorias publication A Guide to Risk Control Plans.

Does your workplace match the case study?


Where your work situation fits the circumstances detailed in this document and it is practicable,
you may accept them "as is" and take risk control action immediately, using the steps we have
outlined. You should consult with health and safety representatives and employees about the risk
assessment and the proposed risk controls.
Where the work situation does not fit the circumstances detailed in this document, then in
consultation with health and safety representatives you should:
Conduct your own individual risk assessments
Develop solutions to control any risk found
So far as is practicable, put solutions in place.

PAGE 14

10 DELIVERING LARGE GAS CYLINDERS DELIVERING LARGE GAS CYLINDERS PAGE 11

CASE STUDY 1:
PACKING & UNPACKING OF SMALL BAGS, BOXES AND
CARTONS
This case study will be referring to cartons and boxes used for things like tins of food (packages
in the 2 kg to 50 kg range) and bags that hold products like flour, stock feed and cement.

Figure 1. Unpacking 50kg bags and small boxes.

Descriptions of typical loading and unloading activity


A description of typical unloading and unloading of small bags and packages is provided to give a
context to the risk assessment and practical solutions material later in this section of the guide.
Packages are either delivered to the container via pallets (on a forklift or pallet mover), slip-sheets
or on a conveyor. Getting the packages into the container can be fully mechanical, partially
mechanical with some manual handling or fully manual.
Totally mechanical process will be typically done through use of forklifts or electric pallet movers
where there is little or no manual handling of packages. Partial mechanical processes can be a
combination of forklifts, pallet movers, conveyors and hand trolleys with some manual handling to
complete stacking. With partial mechanical loading processes the type of manual handling varies
depending on the system used. The mechanical process may only just deliver the packages to
the floor of the container (requiring stacking by hand) or they can have variable height capacity to
minimise the amount of lifting to stack individual packages.

Risk Assessment
A risk assessment conducted under the Manual Handling Regulations on these activities
established that there is a risk due to repetitive awkward postures, sustained movement, high
force, environmental conditions, and repetitive application of force.
SOURCE OF RISK

DETAILS

Workplace layout

Design and Safe Working Load of loading dock may prevent the use of forklifts or other such
equipment to load or unload containers (see solution l).
Height difference between loading dock and container floor will require high forces to push
mechanical aids during packing (see solutions g, i, j & t).
Loading dock which has no steps or safe access means that the driver must climb onto it
using awkward postures (see solution n).
Long distance between the loading face and the pallet results in an item being held or carried
for a long duration (see solutions c, e & o).
Poor workplace layout or housekeeping may mean that repetitive awkward postures and high
forces are adopted when carrying items or using mechanical aids around or over obstructions
(see solution s).

PAGE 15

Stacking items to the roof of the container may mean that awkward postures and high forces
are used to reach items at the top of stacks (see solutions e & f).

Object being handled

Bag/sack/carton design

Items not loaded on pallets or slip sheets prevents their unloading by mechanical aids
(see solutions a, b, d & h).

Lack of handles or poor placement of handles will require higher force to handle item
(see solutions a, b & m).

Weight and size of item will determine postures and forces to be used. Heavier or larger
items require greater force and more awkward postures (see solutions a, b, d, m & r).

Type of material stored in bags affects the ease of handling e.g. flour and plastic beads
form a semi-solid object that is difficult to handle due to its instability while other material
such as cement, sand and salts can be firmer and stable when handled (see solutions a,
b, c & d).

Objects with unstable contents or where the centre of gravity is not central can be difficult
to handle. Lifting or carrying the heavier side of an object away from the body poses a
risk as does handling an unstable object (see solutions a, b, d, m & q).

Mixed loads
Packing or unpacking of small items on top of heavy large items where access to the top layer
cannot be gained by standing on items stored on the floor requires high force to be exerted in
awkward postures to reach these top items ( see solutions a, b, d, e & f).

Tools and equipment

If mechanical aids are not available then awkward postures and high force loads are adopted
to lift, carry, push or stack items (see solutions a, b, c, d, e, f, m, q & r).
Lack of maintenance of mechanical aids can mean that higher forces are needed to operate
them or they cannot be used at all and less safe methods of handling are used (see solutions r
& t).
Damaged or rusty container doors or locks will require high force to open and close (see
solutions q & t).
Using a hand pallet truck without brakes to move loads on a ramp may require the use of high
force (see solution u).

Work organisation

Delivery and loading schedules which impose a strict time limit on manual packing or
unpacking of items will increase the handling frequency and increase the amount of fast and
jerky movements (see solution z).
Not enough competent persons available to assist with handling (see solution r & q).
Work/rest cycles do not allow persons to recover sufficiently from the work undertaken (see
solution v).
Amount of work done over the shift leads to physical exhaustion (see solution w).

Task design

Packing small cartons or bags by hand instead of using mechanical loading of bulk bags or
palletised loads (see solutions a, b, d, e & m).
Sequence of packing may lead to difficulties when unpacking e.g. mixing small and large
items throughout the container may mean that conveyors cannot be used to unload (see
solution cc)
Inappropriate container selected for the items to be loaded (see solution h).
If task requires unnecessary multiple lifting, pushing, carrying, or other handling, then
repetitive awkward postures and forces are used (see solutions a, b, c, d, e, f & m).
Packing or unpacking in restricted space may require uneven, fast or jerky forces (see
solutions a, b, d, m, p & q).

Physical environment

Ramp angle determines the force needed to push or pull hand pallet jacks or trolleys. A large
angle may also preclude the use of a particular mechanical aid such as an electric walkerstacker as it may `bottom-out as it goes over the end of the ramp (see solutions g, j, h, l & u).
Handling items over floor surfaces that are uneven, damaged, sloped and sometimes wet and
slippery will expose persons to sudden and unexpected forces (see solution s & u).

Skills and knowledge

Lack of instruction in how to minimise risk by using the appropriate equipment, procedures
and techniques during this task (see solution q).
If the bag or sack is lifted flat, the worker cannot get the load close to the body, which
increases the risk. If a bag or sack is picked up and carried on end, then the hands, arms and
shoulders predominantly support the weight. The risk of injury increases if loads are handled
with smaller muscle groups (see solution q).

PAGE 16

Other Risks

Fumigation (see solution k).


Stability of container or trailer (see solutions l & t).
Heat and Cold issues (see solution x).
Crush injuries (see solution aa)
Forklift emissions (see solutions y & dd).
Traffic Management (see solution bb).
Falls (see solutions f & s).
Contract staff (see solution q).

Solutions - Good Practices to reduce risk of Injury


It may be necessary to implement a number of these risk control options together to reduce the
risk so far as is practicable:
a) Use bulk bags, or palletised cartons or bags, and
load or unload with powered mechanical aids
such as forklift or electric pallet truck.
b) Require the manufacturer or supplier to supply
product on pallet or slip-sheet. If not practicable,
ensure that container is not a mixed load of small
and large items.
c) Use a powered conveyor to load cartons and bags
directly into the container.
d) Stack cartons and bags on slip-sheets and load
by a forklift with slip-sheet attachment.
e) Use extendable, height adjustable conveyor, if
hand packing is required.
f) Use platform or order picking trolley to reach top
layers in the container.
g) Select a loading dock that is at the same height as
container floor, if loading using a hand pallet jack.
h) Select appropriate size container or enclosed
trailer to suit the packing of palletised goods. Nine
foot six inch shipping containers are available and
these allow goods to be handled on pallets.
i) Use an appropriate dock leveller that will allow
forklifts, powered pallet truck and other such
equipment to be used to load and unload
containers.
j) Select a transport trailer that enables a container
to be the same height as the loading dock.
k) If fumigation is required because of the use of
wooden pallets, use steel, plastic or fibre pallets
otherwise ensure an appropriate safe work
procedure is in place for the fumigant used.
l) If the Safe Working Load (SWL) of the loading
dock is lower than the rating of the forklift, select
an appropriate tautliner instead of a enclosed
trailer and then side load from ground level with a
forklift. Alternatively, select a lighter powered
mechanical aid such as an electric walker-stacker
that will comply with the SWL of the dock.
m) Use mechanical aids such as pallet lifter and
turntable, vacuum lifter, mechanical grabs to
unload cartons and bags from pallets onto
conveyor.
n) Provide a loading dock with steps or stairs having
hand grips which provide three points of contact
for hands and feet at all times.
o) Store items for packing or unpacking as close as
possible to the container.

p) Provide safe and clear access to the loading dock;


e.g. without obstructions and with good housekeeping
so that trolleys and other such mechanical aids can
be moved with smooth and low forces.
q) Provide instruction, training and supervision on
techniques for safe handling of items to ensure
competency of persons required to load or unload
containers; e.g. how to use equipment and how to
select appropriate techniques with lowest risk for the
conditions encountered. A more appropriate
procedure than to lift items and carry them out of the
container is to pull and slide items onto a trolley and
wheel them out.
r) Provide assistance from other persons as required.
s) Fix slippery and uneven surfaces.
t) Implement a regular maintenance program on
mechanical aids, trailer supports and dock equipment.
u) Use forklift or powered pallet jack to move loads on or
off ramps. Use hand pallet jack with brakes when
descending a ramp.
v) Ensure adequate work/rest cycles to allow persons to
recover from the physical work undertaken in manual
packing or unpacking.
w) Ensure that the work rate to manually load and unload
is matched to the shift length. Any increase in shift
length should result in a decrease in the number of
items handled per hour per person.
x) Protect the container from environmental heat and
cold for a period prior to unpacking to ensure the
inside of the container is at a reasonable temperature.
y) Minimise the risk of fume building up within the
container by maintaining and monitoring any petrol,
gas or diesel powered equipment or vehicles in the
vicinity of the container to ensure that the vehicle
emissions are within appropriate standards such as
those for confined space entry and to check there is
no build up of fumes or depletion of oxygen within the
container.
z) Schedule the packing and unpacking of containers
when there are adequate numbers of persons and
time to do the job at a safe pace.
aa) Use barrier or net inside container doors to protect
persons from being hit by items when doors opened.
bb) Use an exclusion zone for the driver and other
persons during forklift operations.
cc) Systems of work for packing need to ensure that
careful thought is given in advance to the sequence in
which the work is done; e.g. loading large items first

PAGE 17

and then smaller items mean that a reach


conveyor can be used to unload all the smaller
items and then space is available for a forklift to
unload large items.

dd) Use electric powered equipment within containers


to minimise the risk of exposure to fumes; e.g. electric
forklift or powered rollers built into the floor of the
container.

The manual handling risks associated with this situation include repetitive awkward postures, sustained
movement, high forces, environmental conditions and repetitive application of force. Options for risk control
include providing a powered conveyor to deliver goods to and from loading face, stacking goods on a slip-sheet
and loading or unloading using an electric forklift with push-pull attachment.

PAGE 18

CASE STUDY 2:
PACKING AND UNPACKING OF LARGE ITEMS
This case study will be dealing with packages containing large items such as whitegoods, electrical
goods and furniture. The packages may be of individual items or may be multiple packages loaded
on a pallet or skid pallet.

Figure 2: Unpacking large items stacked on floor.

Figure 3: Packing large items stacked on skid

Descriptions of typical loading and unloading activity


This description of typical unloading and unloading of large items is provided to give a context to the
risk assessment and practical solutions material later in this section of the guide..
Packages of large items are often palletised and are inserted into the container via a forklift or pallet
mover. Sometimes the packages are moved to the container with a crane. Use of individual skid
pallets is also common. Load moving is also often done with conveyors and simple hand trolleys.
Stacking within the container will either be done mechanically through the use of forklifts or
moveable conveyors or manually by team lifting of the packages. Load spaces on top of larger
heavier items may be used for the smaller packages.

Risk Assessment
A risk assessment conducted under the Manual Handling Regulations on these activities established
that there was a risk due to high force, repetitive awkward postures, sustained movement,
environmental conditions, and repetitive application of force.
PAGE 12 DELIVERING LARGE GAS CYLINDERS DELIVERING LARGE GAS CYLINDERS PAGE 13

SOURCE OF RISK

DETAILS

Workplace layout

Design and Safe Work load of loading dock may prevent the use of forklifts or other such
equipment to load or unload containers (see solution l).
Height difference between loading dock and container floor could require high forces to push
mechanical aids (see solutions d, e, j & t).
Loading dock which has no steps or safe access means that the driver must climb onto it
using awkward postures (see solution m).
Long distance between the loading face and the storage may result in items being pushed for
a long duration (see solutions a, b, c, & n).
Poor workplace layout or housekeeping may mean that repetitive awkward postures and high
forces are adopted when carrying items or using mechanical aids around or over obstructions
(see solutions o & r).

Object being handled

Non palletised items without lifting lugs or a skid, or of a design that cannot be handled with
grab plates, will require manual handling (see solutions a, b, h & i).
Weight and size of item will determine postures and forces to be used. Heavier or larger items
require greater force and more awkward postures to move or stack by hand (see solutions a,
b, h, i, p & q).
Objects with unstable contents or where the centre of gravity is not central can be difficult to
handle. Lifting or carrying the heavier side of an object away from the body poses a risk as
does handling an unstable object: e.g. cathode-ray televisions and monitors are heavier at the

PAGE 19

screen than at the rear, while some washing machines have concrete blocks in the base (see
solutions a, b, p, & t).

Tools and equipment

If mechanical aids are not available then awkward postures and high force loads need to be
adopted to lift, carry, push or stack items (see solutions a, b, c, f, l, p, q, s & t).
Lack of maintenance of mechanical aids or container doors can mean that higher forces are
needed to operate them or they cannot be used at all and less safe methods of handling are
used (see solution s).
Using a hand pallet truck without brakes to move loads on a ramp may require the use of high
force (see solution t).

Work organisation

Not enough competent persons available to assist with handling (see solution p & q).
Delivery and loading schedules which impose a strict time limit on manual packing or
unpacking of items will increase the handling frequency and increase the amount of fast and
jerky movements (see solution z).
Work/rest cycles do not allow persons to recover sufficiently from the work undertaken (see
solution u).
Amount of work done over the shift leads to physical exhaustion (see solution v).

Task design

Packing large items by hand instead of using mechanical loading of palletised loads poses a
risk due to high forces in awkward postures(see solutions a, b, c, f, l, p, q & t).
If task requires unnecessary multiple lifting, pushing, carrying, or other handling, then
repetitive awkward postures and forces are used (see solutions a, b, c, n, & q).
Packing or unpacking in restricted space with heavy items may require uneven, fast or jerky
forces (see solution a, b, c & i).

Physical environment

Increasing ramp angle increases the force needed to push or pull hand pallet jacks or trolleys.
A large angle may also preclude the use of a particular mechanical aid such as an electric
walker-stacker as it may `bottom-out as it goes over the end of the ramp (see solutions d, e, i,
j & t).
Handling items over floor surfaces that are uneven, damaged, sloped and sometimes wet and
slippery will expose persons to sudden and unexpected forces (see solution r & s).

Skills and knowledge

Lack of instruction in how to minimise risk by using the appropriate equipment, procedures
and techniques during this task (see solution p).

Other Risks

Fumigation (see solution y).


Stability of container or trailer (see solutions i, j & s).
Heat and Cold issues (see solution w).
Crush injuries (see solution aa).
Forklift emissions (see solutions k & x).
Traffic management (see solution bb).
Falls (see solutions g & m)
Contract staff (see solutions p)

Solutions - Good Practices to reduce risk of Injury


It may be necessary to implement a number of these risk control options together to reduce the risk
as far as practicable:
a)

b)
c)
d)

Store large items on pallets and skids and


load or unload with powered mechanical aids
such as a forklift or electric pallet truck.
Load large items by forklift with plate
attachment, if not on skids or pallets.
Use extendable, height adjustable conveyor
if hand packing of smaller items required.
Select loading dock that is at the same height
as container floor, if loading with a hand
pallet truck.

e)

f)

g)
h)

Select transport trailer that enables a


container to be at the same height as the
loading dock.
If the loading dock cannot support the weight
of a forklift, select an appropriate tautliner
trailer instead of enclosed trailer and then
side load using forklift at ground level.
Use platform step (order picking trolley) to
load items to the top of the container.
Require the manufacturer or supplier to
supply product on pallets or slip-sheet.

PAGE 20

i)

Select appropriate size container or enclosed


trailer to suit the loading of palletised goods.
Nine foot six inch shipping containers are
available and these allow goods to be
handled on pallets. Select open top shipping
container to load items by crane. Select flat
shipping container to side load object using
forklift.
j) Use an appropriate dock leveller and trailer
supports that will allow forklifts, powered
pallet truck and other such equipment to be
used to load and unload containers.
k) Use electric powered equipment within
containers to minimise the risk of exposure to
fumes; e.g. electric forklift or powered rollers
built into the floor of the container.
l) If the Safe Working Load (SWL) of the
loading dock is lower than the rating of the
forklift, select an appropriate tautliner instead
of a enclosed trailer and then side load from
ground level with a forklift. Alternatively,
select a lighter powered mechanical aid such
as an electric walker-stacker that will comply
with the SWL of the dock.
m) Provide a loading dock with steps or stairs
having hand grips which provide three points
of contact for hands and feet at all times.
n) Store items for packing or unpacking as
close as possible to the container.
o) Provide safe and clear access to the loading
dock; e.g. without obstructions and with good
housekeeping so that trolleys and other such
mechanical aids can be moved with smooth
and low forces.
p) Provide instruction, training and supervision
on techniques for safe handling of items to
ensure competency of persons required to
load or unload containers; e.g. How to use
equipment such as dock levellers, electric
pallet jack, trailer stands etc; How to select
appropriate techniques with lowest risk for
the conditions encountered. A more
appropriate procedure than to lift items and
carry them out of the container is to pull and
slide items onto a trolley and wheel them out.
q) Provide assistance from other persons as
required. If assistance is required for a team
lift, ensure that there are enough people in
the team, one person is appointed to

coordinate the task, people are of similar size


and strength and, where possible, team
members have been trained together.
r) Fix slippery and uneven surfaces.
s) Implement a regular maintenance program
on mechanical aids, trailer supports and dock
equipment.
t) Use forklift or powered pallet jack to move
loads on or off ramps. Use hand pallet jack
with brakes when descending ramps.
u) Ensure adequate work/rest cycles to allow
persons to recover from the physical work
undertaken in manual packing or unpacking.
v) Ensure that the work rate to manually load
and unload is matched to the shift length.
Any increase in shift length should result in a
decrease in the number of items handled per
hour per person.
w) Protect the container from environmental
heat and cold for a period prior to unpacking
to ensure the inside of the container is at a
reasonable temperature.
x) Minimise the risk of fume building up within
the container by maintaining and monitoring
any petrol, gas or diesel powered equipment
or vehicles in the vicinity of the container to
ensure that the vehicle emissions are within
appropriate standards such as those for
confined space entry and to check there is no
build up of fumes or depletion of oxygen
within the container.
y) If fumigation is required because of the use
of wooden pallets, use steel, plastic or fibre
pallets otherwise ensure an appropriate safe
work procedure is in place for the fumigant
used.
z) Schedule the packing and unpacking of
containers when there are adequate
numbers of persons and time to do the job at
a safe pace.
aa) Use barrier or net inside container doors to
protect persons from being hit by items when
doors opened.
bb) Use an exclusion zone for the driver and
other persons during forklift operations.

The manual handling risks associated with this situation include awkward postures
and high forces. Options for risk control include providing objects on skids or pallets
and loading using powered mechanical equipment.
PAGE 14 DELIVERING LARGE GAS CYLINDERS DELIVERING LARGE GAS CYLINDERS PAGE 15

PAGE 21

CASE STUDY 3:
PACKING AND UNPACKING PROBLEMATIC ITEMS
This case study will be dealing with items that cant be contained within conventional packaging.
It includes long items like plasterboard sheets and carpet, unstable loads such as drums of liquid
or large irregular shaped bags, heavy material like stone slabs or rolls of steel and irregularly
shaped items such as machinery or sculpture.

Figure 4: Packing of problematic large item into container.

Descriptions of typical loading and unloading activity


This description of typical unloading and unloading of problematic items is provided to give a
context to the risk assessment and practical solutions material later in this section of the guide.
Typically the loading and unloading activity requires the use of lifting equipment due to the size
and weight of the items. The lifting equipment may be a forklift or a pallet mover for lighter items.
Items which can be handled manually such as carpet rolls are often manually packed in a
particular pattern to stabilise the load within the container. Purpose built frames are often used to
stabilise heavy items and these frames can cause their own problems in the loading and
unloading process.

Risk Assessment
A risk assessment conducted under the Manual Handling Regulations on these common industry
activities established that there was a risk due to repetitive awkward postures, high force and
environmental conditions.
SOURCE OF RISK

DETAILS

Workplace layout

Design and Safe Working Load of loading dock may prevent the use of forklifts or other such
equipment to load or unload containers (see solutions l).
Height difference between loading dock and container floor could require high forces to push
mechanical aids (see solutions d, e, k & r).
Loading dock which has no steps or safe access means that the driver must climb onto it
using awkward postures (see solution y).
Long distance between the container and the storage may result in an item being pushed or
carried for a long duration (see solutions m).
Poor workplace layout or housekeeping may mean that repetitive awkward postures and high
forces are adopted when carrying items or using mechanical aids around or over obstructions
(see solutions n & q).

Object being handled

Non palletised items without lifting lugs or a skid, or of a design that cannot be handled with
grab plates, will require manual handling (see solutions a, b, c, & i).
Weight and size of item will determine postures and forces to be used. Some large items are
relatively light, while others such as rolls of steel are too heavy to be manually handled by any
number of persons (see solutions a, b, c, h, i, o & p).

PAGE 22

Objects with unstable contents or where the centre of gravity is not central can be difficult to
handle. Lifting or carrying the heavier side of an object away from the body poses a risk as
does handling an unstable object (see solutions a, b, c, & h).

Tools and equipment

If mechanical aids are not available then awkward postures and high force loads need to be
adopted to lift, carry, push or stack items (see solutions a, b, c, d, e, g, h, i, j, k, l, o, p & s).
Lack of maintenance of mechanical aids or container doors can mean that higher forces are
needed to operate them or they cannot be used at all and less safe methods of handling are
used (see solution r).
Using a hand pallet truck without brakes to move loads on a ramp may require the use of high
force (see solution s).
No frame available to store problematic objects before container packing (see solution c).

Work organisation

Not enough competent persons available to assist with handling (see solutions o & p).
Delivery and loading schedules which impose a strict time limit on manual packing or
unpacking of items will increase the handling frequency and increase the amount of fast and
jerky movements (see solution z).

Task design

Packing large items by hand instead of using mechanical loading of palletised loads (see
solutions a, b, c, h, j, o, p & s).
Packing or unpacking in restricted space with heavy items may require uneven, fast or jerky
forces (see solutions a, b, c, h & n).

Physical environment

Ramp angle determines the force needed hand load or unload object. A large angle may also
preclude the use of a particular mechanical aid such as an electric walker-stacker as it may
`bottom-out as it goes over the end of the ramp (see solutions d, e, k, l & s).
Handling items over floor surfaces that are uneven, damaged, sloped and sometimes wet and
slippery will expose persons to sudden and unexpected forces (see solutions q & r).

Skills and knowledge

Lack of instruction in how to minimise risk by using the appropriate equipment, procedures
and techniques during this task (see solution o).

Other Risks

Stability of container or trailer (see solutions e, g, j & r).


Forklift emissions (see solutions w & bb).
Heat and Cold issues (see solution v).
Crush injuries (see solution x)
Traffic Management (see solution aa).
Falls (see solution c).

Solutions - Good Practices to reduce risk of Injury


It may be necessary to implement a number of these risk control options together to reduce the
risk as far as practicable:
a)

b)
c)

d)

e)

f)

Secure problematic items to a skid or pallet


and load or unload into container with
powered forklift or electric pallet truck.
Use forklift or crane to load problematic
items onto skid.
Secure vertical items onto frame on skid or
pallet before using forklift to load into
container.
Select loading dock that is at the same
height as container floor if loading using
hand pallet truck.
Select transport trailer that enables a
container to be at the same height as the
loading dock.
Investigate the use of steel, plastic or fibre
pallets instead of wooden pallets if
fumigation can be eliminated.

g)

h)
i)
j)

k)

If the loading dock cannot support the


weight of a forklift, select an appropriate
tautliner trailer instead of enclosed trailer,
then side load using a forklift at ground level.
Load large items by forklift with plate
attachment, if not on skids or pallets.
Require the manufacturer or supplier to
supply product on pallets or skid.
Select appropriate size container or
enclosed trailer to suit the packing of
problematic loads. Nine foot six inch
shipping containers are available for taller
items. Select open top shipping container to
load items by crane. Select flat container to
side load object using forklift.
Use an appropriate dock leveller that will
allow forklifts, powered pallet truck and other
such equipment to be used to load and
unload containers.

PAGE 23

l)

If the Safe Working Load (SWL) of the


loading dock is lower than the rating of the
forklift, select an appropriate tautliner
instead of a enclosed trailer or an open
shipping container and then side load from
ground level with a forklift. Alternatively,
select a lighter powered mechanical aid
such as an electric walker-stacker that will
comply with the SWL of the dock.
m) Store items for packing or unpacking as
close as possible to the container.
n) Provide safe and clear access to the loading
dock; e.g. without obstructions and with
good housekeeping so that trolleys and
other such mechanical aids can be moved
with smooth and low forces.
o) Provide instruction, training and supervision
on techniques for safe handling of items to
ensure competency of persons required to
load or unload containers; e.g. how to use
equipment and how to select appropriate
techniques with lowest risk for the
conditions. A more appropriate procedure
than to lift items and carry them out of the
container is to pull and slide items onto a
pallet and forklift them out.
p) Provide assistance from other persons as
required. If assistance is required for a team
lift, ensure that there are enough people in
the team, one person is appointed to
coordinate the task, people are of similar
size and strength and, where possible, team
members have been trained together.
q) Fix slippery and uneven surfaces.
r) Implement a regular maintenance program
on mechanical aids, trailer supports and
dock equipment.
s) Use forklift or powered pallet jack to move
loads on or off ramps. Use hand pallet jack
with brakes when descending a ramp.

t)

Ensure adequate work/rest cycles to allow


persons to recover from the physical work
undertaken in manual packing or unpacking.
u) Ensure that the work rate to manually load
and unload is appropriate for shift length. An
increase in shift length should result in a
decrease in the number of items handled
per hour per person.
v) Protect the container from environmental
heat and cold for a period prior to unpacking
to ensure the inside of the container is at a
reasonable temperature.
w) Minimise the risk of fume building up within
the container by maintaining and monitoring
any petrol, gas or diesel powered equipment
or vehicles in the vicinity of the container to
ensure that the vehicle emissions are within
appropriate standards such as those for
confined space entry and to check there is
no build up of fumes or depletion of oxygen
within the container.
x) Use barrier or net inside container doors to
protect persons from being hit by items
when doors opened.
y) Provide a loading dock with steps or stairs
having hand grips which provide three points
of contact for hands and feet at all times.
z) Schedule the packing and unpacking of
containers when there are adequate
numbers of persons and time to do the job
at a safe pace.
aa) Use an exclusion zone for the driver and
other persons during forklift operations.
bb) Use electric powered equipment within
containers to minimise the risk of exposure
to fumes; e.g. electric forklift or powered
rollers built into the floor of the container.

A TEAM LIFT IS ONLY CONSIDERED TO BE AN INTERIM CONTROL MEASURE IN THIS CASE BECAUSE:

a) Weights of most problematic items handled are in excess of the weight that can be safely handled
by each person, and
b) Object requires persons to adopt awkward postures during the lift, and
c) Technique will not require the persons to lift the entire object weight; and
d) Object might not allow the persons to get a good grip during handling; and
e) It is an administrative control that requires that additional persons be available at the loading area
which in many cases cannot be guaranteed.

PAGE 24

SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS
Appendix 1: Glossary of Terms
The following terms are commonly used in the Transport and Storage sector.
Risk: the likelihood of injury or illness arising from exposure to any hazard.
Hazard: the potential to cause injury, illness or disease.
Manual Handling: means any activity requiring the use of force exerted by a person to lift, push,
pull, carry or otherwise move, hold or restrain any object.
Shipping Container: a purpose-built container with standard dimensions used for transport of
goods by road, rail or sea.
Pantechnicon: an enclosed road freight trailer with fixed sides used for the transport of goods by
road.
Fumigation: a quarantine requirement for some goods to disinfect by means of fumes to kill
insects and other pests.
Slip-sheets: cardboard or plastic sheets which can be placed under a load to enable the load to
be handled in the same way as a palletised load using a push-pull forklift attachment.
Practicable: means having regard to all the following:
(a) the severity of the hazard or risk in question;
(b) the state of knowledge about that hazard or risk and any ways of removing or mitigating
that hazard or risk;
(c) the availability and suitability of ways to remove or mitigate that hazard or risk; and
(d) the cost of removing or mitigating that hazard or risk.
This definition relates to the duties imposed in the Act. It means all of these factors must be taken into
account when determining whether the duty has been met rather than only looking at any single factor, for
example cost. In determining how to meet the requirements of a specific duty, consideration should be
given to the effect on employees, the technical feasibility and cost effectiveness of any proposed action.
Blackspot guidance relevance to practicability:
The severity of the hazard or risk in
question.

Packing and unpacking containers and enclosed trailers is a readily


identifiable activity resulting in 289 standard claims and 366 minor claims in
the period July 1999 to May 2002. Total cost of Standard Claims was $9.2M,
at an average of $31,943 per claim.

The state of knowledge about that


hazard or risk and any ways of
removing or mitigating that hazard or
risk.

This document reflects some of the state of knowledge about the risk and
controls in place within industry to control the risk.

The availability and suitability of


ways to remove or mitigate that
hazard or risk.

This document identifies a range of available approaches and equipment


suitable for controlling risk arising from packing and unpacking containers
and enclosed trailers.

The cost of removing or mitigating


that hazard or risk.

Many employers have determined it is practicable to implement the controls


detailed in this document.

25

Appendix 2: Finding and fixing health and safety problems


Health and safety problems are best addressed by a two step method that can be applied to all
areas, jobs, machinery and equipment.
When you are doing this, you, as an employer, are required to consult with health and safety
representatives, if you have any. If there is no representative, you should consult with the
employees doing the task. Consultation will ensure that you are able to accurately and
comprehensively identify the hazards, assess the risk and develop appropriate risk controls.

Step 1 - Identifying hazards and assessing risks


Hazards are the jobs, activities, processes, materials, machines, buildings, equipment etc. in the
workplace that have the potential to cause harm. Assessing risks is about working out how likely
it is that a hazard will cause harm.
Hazard identification can include:

Looking at the work and the work areas: workflow, layout and how work is organised.
Using existing information: past health and safety incidents, injuries, problems and hazards that have not
been addressed need to be recognised.
Discussing possible hazards and risks with others: such as industry bodies, unions, or employer
associations.
Other sources of information: see sources of further information listed at the end of the document.

Where a hazard is found, a risk assessment must be done (refer to the Manual Handling
Regulations and Code of Practice for Manual Handling for details of how to assess the risk).
Step 2 - Eliminating or reducing the risks - Risk Control
Any risks assessed must be eliminated as far as is practicable. If risks cant be eliminated they
must be reduced as far as is practicable. Remember to consult with employees.
There is usually more than one means of reducing or eliminating the risk from a particular hazard
and more than one method may need to be used. Some general principles help when setting in
place risk controls:

When you are solving one hazard, make sure that you are not creating new hazards or making other
hazards more hazardous.
Risk controls that rely on workers doing things differently, being safety conscious, working more safely
and using personal protective equipment often dont work very well. These types of controls often
need constant supervision and training and are less effective as workers become fatigued or because
there is a constant turnover of workers.
Use one or more of the following methods to reduce risks: Substitution, Isolation, Engineering Controls.
If the risk remains after these methods have been used, administrative controls and personal
protective equipment can be used.
Workers may cut corners because of pressure to get the job done in time. They may go back to former
methods or not use new methods for other reasons.
Finding and fixing health and safety problems is more effective when properly planned. Measures to
improve health and safety are often not set and forget. Regularly consult with health and safety
representatives and other workers to see if agreed measures are still being used and are effective.

Risk controls can vary considerably in the cost, time and effort required to put them in place.
Effective risk controls can often be implemented quickly with minimum cost and effort. A
reasonable search effort often finds rewarding solutions.

26

Appendix 3:

Examples of mechanical aids

A large range of mechanical aids are available to help reduce manual handling risks. The
photographs show some of the equipment which might be appropriate to your activities.

27

Appendix 4: Suggested Dock Length using Different Loading


Equipment
Height difference
between
container floor
and dock (A)

Length of ramp (B) required for loading equipment


Hand pallet truck

Electric pallet
truck

Electric forklift

Gas or diesel
forklift

5 cm (2 in)

1.5 m (5 ft)

0.7 m (27 in)

0.7 m (27 in)

0.7 m (27 in)

10 cm (4 in)

3.7 m (12 ft)

1.5 m (5 ft)

0.76 (30 in)

0.7 m (27 in)

15 cm (6 in)

-- --

2.4 m (8 ft)

1.5 m (5 ft)

0.76 (30 in)

20 cm (8 in)

-- --

3.0 m (10 ft)

2.4 m (8 ft)

1.5 m (5 ft)

25 cm (10 in)

-- --

3.7 m (12 ft)

3.0 m (10 ft)

2.4 m (8 ft)

30 cm (12 in)

-- --

-- --

3.7 m (12 ft)

3.0 m (10 ft)

36 cm (14 in)

-- --

-- --

-- --

3.0 m (10 ft)

41 cm (16 in)

-- --

-- --

-- --

3.0 m (10 ft)

46 cm (18 in)

-- --

-- --

-- --

3.7 m (12 ft)

LIVERING LARGE GAS CYLINDERS DELIVERING LARGE GAS CYLINDERS PAGE 27

Table 1. Refer Dock Planning Standards: Kelley Company Inc. http://ww.kelleycompany.com

A = h eight difference between dock and


container floor.
B = L e n g th of ram p
B
A
LOADING DOCK

Disclaimer:
The details provided in this chart are indicative only. Refer to the manufacturers specifications for the
materials handling equipment in use within your workplace. The type of ramp, environmental conditions,
speed, and other factors will also affect stability and need to be taken into account in the design and use of
dock facilities.

28

Appendix 5: Legal duty holders


What Duties do Employers, Employees, and Contractors Have?
All parties involved in the delivery chain have a responsibility to prevent work-related injury.
Employers should be aware that they have legal responsibilities for managing risks not only for
their full, part-time and casual staff, but for contractors or agency personnel as well.
PAGE 2 DELIVERING LARGE GAS CYLINDERS DELIVERING LARGE GAS CYLINDERS PAGE 3

Employers have legal obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (1985) and
the OH&S (Manual Handling) Regulations 1999. These include:
- to provide and maintain plant and systems of work that are so far as is practicable
safe and without risks to health; and
- to maintain so far as is practicable workplaces that are safe and without risks to
health.
If they implement effective risk management practices, they could also realise improved staff
morale and business gains.
Employers are also required under the law to consult with elected workplace health and safety
representatives when identifying hazards, assessing risks and controlling risk.

THE MANUAL HANDLING REGULATIONS 1999 REQUIRE EMPLOYERS TO:


- Identify tasks in your workplace that involve hazardous manual handling.
- Assess the risk of a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) associated with these tasks.
- Eliminate the risk of MSD or if this is not practicable, reduce the risk.

To obtain copies of these documents, call Information Victoria on telephone 1300 366 356, or visit
www.bookshop.vic.gov.au
An employer must provide employees with proper equipment, support and appropriate training.
This responsibility extends to providing a safe physical work environment, appropriate job design
and work systems.
Employees, under the Manual Handling Regulations, are required to cooperate with their
employers actions in regard to hazard identification, risk assessment and risk control.
Employees, while at work, must take reasonable care for their own health and safety and for the
health and safety of others. They must cooperate with the employers in respect to any action
taken by the employer to comply with any requirements imposed under the Occupational Health
and Safety Act.
Contractors that pack or unpack shipping containers and enclosed trailers at their own workplace
have responsibilities to their employees and any other contractors or agency personnel working
for or with them.
Contractors that supply workers to pack or unpack at another workplace have legal responsibility
for their own employees and any other contractors or agency personnel working for them. All
parties, including the owner of the load and those who have control of the workplace, should work
together to ensure that hazards are identified, risks are assessed and effective risk controls are
put into place.

29

Appendix 6: Further Information & Contact the Victorian


WorkCover Authority
A range of sources can provide you with further information. These include:

ACTS AND REGULATIONS

Occupational Health and Safety Act 1985

Occupational Health and Safety (Manual Handling) Regulations 1999

Occupational Health and Safety (Plant) Regulations 1995

Occupational Health and Safety (Certification of Plant Users and Operators) Regulations
1994

Occupational Health and Safety (Issue Resolution) Regulations 1999

Occupational Health and Safety (Incident Notification) Regulations 1997

Occupational Health & Safety (Confined Spaces) Regulations 1996

Acts and regulations are available from Information Victoria on


1300 366 356 or order online at www.bookshop.vic.gov.au/
If you only want to view the legislation you can use the Parliament of Victoria web site; go
to www.dms.dpc.vic.gov.au/ , click on "Victorian Law Today" and scroll down to the
"Search" window.

CODES OF PRACTICE
Relevant WorkSafe Victoria Codes of Practice:
Manual Handling (No. 25, 2000)
Plant (No. 19, 1995)
Storage and Handling of Dangerous Goods (No. 27, 2000)
Hazardous Substances (No. 24, 2000)
First Aid in the Workplace (No. 18, 1995)
Workplaces (No. 3, 1988)
Confined Spaces (no. 20, 1996)
Copies of codes of practices can be obtained by contacting WorkSafe Victoria on 03 9641 1333,
or your local WorkSafe Victoria office.

HEALTH AND SAFETY GUIDANCE MATERIAL


Other useful health and safety information is available on WorkSafe Victorias web site; go to
www.workcover.vic.gov.au
Material that can apply to container and pantech loading and unloading includes:
- A Guide to Risk Control Plans
- Confined Spaces The dangers of Poorly Ventilated Spaces

30

AUSTRALIAN STANDARDS
AS 1418.1 1994 Cranes (including hoists and winches) - General requirements
AS 1755 2000 Conveyors Safety Requirements
AS 2359.2 1985 SAA Industrial Truck Code Part 2: Operation
AS 2550.1 1993 Cranes Safe Use General Requirements
AS/NZS 2865 2001 Safe working in a confined space
Australian Standards are available from Standards Australia on 1300 654 646, or on-line at
www.standards.com.au
PAGE 26

OTHER
Other bodies provide health and safety information. An example is:
- Shipping containers: stability of 20-foot containers (from Transport Workers Union)
Available from Australian Government Info Shop (190 Queen St. Melbourne Tel. 9670 4224.):
- The Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road and Rail (ADG Code)
- Load Restraint Guide VICTORIA
Refer to the following sections of the Yellow Pages for assistance:
Automation Systems &/or Equipment
Conveying & Elevating Equipment Systems
Building Consultants & Designers
Cargo Freight Containers &/or Services
Castors
Designing Engineers
Elevating Work Platforms
Engineers Consulting
Ergonomics
Forklift Trucks
Hoisting and Rigging Equipment

Materials Handling Consultants


Materials Handling Equipment
Occupational Health & safety
Pneumatic Equipment & Supplies
Robots
Safety Equipment
Shipping Consultants
Vacuum Equipment & Consultants
Vibration Control Consultants
Warehousing

WORKSAFE VICTORIA
Offices
Ballarat
Bendigo
Dandenong
Geelong
Melbourne
Mildura
Mulgrave
Preston
Shepparton
Traralgon
Wangaratta
Warrnambool

Tel. 5337 1400


Tel. 5443 8866
Tel. 8792 9000
Tel. 5226 1200
Tel. 9628 8115
Tel. 5021 4001
Tel. 9565 9444
Tel. 9485 4555
Tel. 5831 8260
Tel. 5174 8900
Tel. 5721 8588
Tel. 5562 5600

Head Office -

222 Exhibition Street, Level 24, (GPO Box 4306), Melbourne Vic 3000
Tel. 9641 1555,
Fax. 9641 1222
www.workcover.vic.gov.au
Tel. 1800 136 089AGE 28 DELIVERING LARGE GAS CYLINDERS

Website:
Advisory service

Fax. 5331 8415


Fax. 5441 3997
Fax. 8792 9011
Fax. 5221 7861
Fax. 9628 8199
Fax. 5021 4047
Fax. 9565 9400
Fax. 9485 4501
Fax. 5831 1508
Fax. 5174 9086
Fax. 5721 2740
Fax. 5562 9625

31