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Hazardous manual handling in grocery wholesale

What you must do

The grocery wholesale sector plays a key role in making sure the ingredients, food and drink that Victorians enjoy are safely transferred from wholesale storage into retail outlets, restaurants and cafes.

Often it involves manually handling of goods packaged together for storage and transport. These packages can be heavy and awkward or there can be many packages to handle.

Under Victoria's OHS laws, employers must ensure they control risks relating to hazardous manual handling.

There are thre key activities in grocery wholesale that have been identified and involve potential risks due to hazardous manual handling. They are:

  • order picking in warehouses
  • manual loading of goods into delivery vehicles
  • transfer of goods from delivery vehicles to customers.

Solutions

There are a number of established controls available to enable safe order picking, including picking trolleys, hand pallet jacks and having pallets in racking raised on a low beam

Newer controls now available include height adjustable ride-one pallet movers and an easy picker, such as that designed by Work Safe Awards finalists, Rotolift.

There are a number of existing controls that can be used to eliminate or reduce the risk to workers during loading and delivery activities.

For high volume movements, you might need to palletise the items and use a forklift to get them on and off a vehicle. A reach conveyor can also be used.

Other equipment that can be used includes tailgate lifters, electronic pallet jacks and hand trucks.

A dual purpose hand truck is a versatile solution, converting from a 2-wheel upright to a 4-wheel trolley.

A Rotacaster self-supporting trolley allows drivers to remove hands their hands from trolley to open doors when transporting goods to customers.

For more information on controlling the risks associated with these activities, see: