Category one – Best solution to an identified work health and safety issue
Moving packs of timber that can weigh up to 1500kg throughout the warehouse on forklifts is a high-risk task for both the driver and all workers in the warehouse. For drivers the risk is hitting a stack of timber causing the beams to fall or having to avoid a pile of timber that has already fallen. For workers in the warehouse, the stakes are even higher as they have the dual risk of being struck by a moving forklift and falling beams.
To make this task as safe as possible for workers, while still allowing for the efficiencies of warehouse operations and pedestrian movement to take place simultaneously, Hyne Timber engaged with Xlam (the arm of Hyne Group that manufactures cross laminated timber panels for the commercial construction sector), to design and install a ‘safety corridor’ for pedestrians in the warehouse. The safety corridor has been designed to withstand a reasonable force so that pedestrians can now move around the warehouse without the risk of injury from falling timber or being struck by a forklift.
In a further enhancement, Hyne Timber also updated their traffic management controls which included the installation of LED strobe lights and rotating beacons to ensure eye adaptation from light to dark environments (moving in and out of the safety corridor). They have also installed ‘stop and think’ gates and tactile indicator pads at one end of the corridor that is a traffic roadway to alert pedestrians of vehicle activity ahead.
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Hyne Timber has been around for 141 years, and a sixth-generation private family company.
Started right here in Maryborough on the banks of the Mary River, growing over that period to become an East Coast Australia-based business.
In a particular area of plant, in our Green Mill, our team members would walk a particular path. The team that was put together to look at the pathway identified this area as a key risk.
So that was the Green Mill staff, which comprised of Green Mill staff, Green Mill HSRs, maintenance staff, and also maintenance health and safety representatives.
We looked at solutions that you'd typically see with high-rise buildings, and gantries access, pedestrian traffic, identifying that, we had three options.
One option was actually a high-rise gantry solution. Another one was actually shipping containers, and the third option was actually our own product from Xlam, where we'd actually build a wall or a tunnel.
After we did the options analysis and the costing, we went back to the team and presented the options, and we selected the CLT wall or cross limited timber wall as the option that we'll proceed with.
Yeah, it's such an important concept to separate pedestrians from mobile plant and for far too long we've relied on administrative processes to keep people safe, and we can't afford to have that with forklifts.
So, it's important that, you know, we rely on systems where we can eliminate pedestrians from forklifts like this Xlam wall.
My involvement in coming up with the solution really is inspiring the teams to work together with an open mind about solutions and not to tolerate safety issues so that the employees are encouraged to come up with these ideas in future.
There has been a shift in culture since the wall has gone in. It's really been a catalyst where we've installed a really a hard control, a really strong control, and it's actually showed to the teams that we can actually do this.
And it's really empowered them to have that real growth mindset to when we look at controls, so we can actually look at the gold plated control, the silver and the bronze, and then we can then present that up to our leadership team to make a decision.
Highly important for the senior management of the company to set a culture and safety within the business.
So, we'd give anyone the authority to ensure that if something's not safe, that they pull up and ensure that whatever the problem is dealt with straight away.
This safety improvement, you can see that this just motivates people to keep kicking more goals, which just builds on that.
Health and safety is not only a legislative responsibility, it's a moral obligation to make sure all our employees go home safely at the end of the day.
It's great to work on a control that saves lives and the feedback that we get from the teams is actually the rewarding part.
Seeing the smiles on their face when they're walking through.