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Safer ways to work out of produce bins

Risks and solutions associated with moving produce from produce bins.

What's the problem?

Workers are exposed to injury when moving produce from produce bins. Produce is often loaded into half-tonne bins in the field and then transported to a packing shed for unloading and processing.

What are the risks?

The bin dimensions cause workers to adopt awkward postures which include significant forward bending and twisting of the back and significant reaching forward and twisting of the shoulder. Rural workers mostly perform this task manually without any mechanical assistance.

Workers bend over to below knee height when the level of the produce is low and this exposes them to a high risk of sprain and strain injuries. The task is repetitive and can be performed for significant amounts of time.

What's a solution to the problem?

Minimise injury risk when removing produce from packing bins by using:

  • automated bin tippers
  • a lifting device/frame so the height of the bin can be raised and the angle varied to allow for easier access
  • turntables to comfortably access produce
  • half-tonne bins that have smaller or fold-down sides
  • negotiating with farmers and suppliers about the way produce is received.