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Safer field palletising on harvest aids

Risks and solutions associated with handling loads when manually loading crates, boxes or bags of produce onto pallets in a harvest aid.

Solutions provide practical information on how to solve or improve a common problem in the workplace.

What's the problem?

Workers are exposed to repetitive tasks and handling loads above shoulder height when manually loading crates, boxes or bags of produce onto pallets in a harvest aid.

What are the risks?

Workers handling crates below knee height and above shoulder height are exposed to a high risk of a sprain and strain injury. Pallet heights are determined by customers and transport costs.

Workspace is often limited causing awkward working postures and difficulty in moving things.

Unexpected movement of the harvest aid and poor access can cause workers to slip or fall.

The weight of the crates increases the risk of injury.

What's a solution to the problem?

The risk of musculoskeletal injuries can be reduced by using mechanical aids or other methods to reduce the strain on the body.

If workers are handling crates below knee height and above shoulder height consider:

  • automatic pallet stacking devices
  • using height adjustable pallet raisers (recessed into the floor, if possible) for crates below knee height
  • constructing a raised platform for crates above shoulder height in order to comfortably reach the top layers or using a mechanical lifting system
  • discussing with transport companies and customers about altering pallet heights
  • using job rotation to vary tasks and limit the time workers are doing this task.

To improve access to harvest aids:

  • allow enough clear space for movement of workers around the machine and handling product
  • ensure clear walkways and surrounds.