Handling spindles and rolls of packaging

Guidance for employers to reduce musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) associated with employees handling spindles and rolls of packaging.


Employees having to manually move spindles and rolls of packaging, particularly where the spindle or roll of packaging is heavy and awkward to handle.

Figure 1 Employee lifting a loaded spindle


Manually moving spindles and rolls of packaging involves bending, twisting and lifting. This can cause MSDs to the back, shoulders and arms. MSDs can occur suddenly or develop over time.


The following control measures can reduce the risk of MSDs to employees. The measures can enable the use of larger roll sizes, reducing the time spent on changing rolls, which can also reduce the risk of MSDs.

Control measures include:

  • mechanical system that can lift a spindle to and from the cradle, such as an overhead hoist with a purpose-built lifting head
  • overhead gantry that can lift and move a roll into position
  • mechanical aid to lift and transfer packaging rolls
  • height-adjustable trolley on which the roll can be moved, fitted with a spindle, raised to appropriate height and slotted into position

Figure 2 Employee using an overhead gantry to lift and move a loaded roll into position.

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