This guidance can help employers control risks to employees removing dough or other solid product from mixing bowls in the food manufacturing industry.
Use solutions with the least risk
Modern mixing equipment incorporates bowl lifters and tippers to address risks associated with removing solid product from mixing bowls. However, employees who have to remove dough or other solid products from mixing bowls may face risks of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) from the repetitive awkward postures of this potentially hazardous manual handling task.
The following solutions can help employers control risks to employees removing solid product from mixing bowls in different situations. These solutions may help eliminate or reduce the risk of employees developing an MSD.
Solutions are listed in order, from those considered most effective to those considered less effective.
Employers should make sure employees use the handling solutions with the least risk, so far as reasonably practicable.
Solutions with reduced risks are an alternative only if least-risk methods are not reasonably practicable.
Employers should start implementing risk controls for the heaviest or highest-volume products first.
The following guidance also describes high-risk actions that can cause an MSD. Employers have a duty to eliminate or reduce the risk of MSDs so far as reasonably practicable and should make sure employees do not perform high-risk actions, if practicable.
So far as reasonably practicable, employers must consult with employees and any health and safety representatives (HSRs) when identifying hazards and providing risk control measures. Consultation should include discussions about how employees will remove solid product from mixing bowls, making sure that risk control measures do not create new hazards. WorkSafe has guidance on consultation, including consultation with HSRs.
Controlling bowl height risks
High-risk actions that can cause an MSD
Back bending and twisting:
more than twice per minute or
30 seconds at a time
for more than 30 minutes continuously or more than 2 hours over the whole shift. These actions may occur in the situations listed or in combination with other work activities.
Potential source of risk
Preferred solutions with the least risk
Use an overturnable or self-tipping bowl mixer.
Use a bowl mixer if using removable bowls.
Investigate whether a mechanical aid can be used to raise and tilt the mixer or bowl to enable better access to the work area.
Use an overturnable or self-tipping bowl mixer.
A bowl hoist.
A cement-type mixer tilts for easier removal of product.
Solutions with a reduced risk
Raise the mixing machine or bowl height. Note: Do not create a new hazard associated with adding raw materials to the bowl.
Where smaller batches are being removed from a bowl, keep the containers on an adjacent trolley.
Your legal duties
The Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act) requires employers to provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and without risks to health, so far as reasonably practicable. An employer contravenes this duty if they fail to:
provide or maintain plant or systems of work that are, so far as reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health
make arrangements for ensuring, so far as reasonably practicable, safety and the absence of risks to health in connection with the use, handling, storage or transport of plant or substances
maintain, so far as is reasonably practicable, each workplace under the employer's management and control in a condition that is safe and without risks to health
provide, so far as is reasonably practicable, adequate facilities for the welfare of employees at any workplace under the management and control of the employer
provide information, instruction, training or supervision to employees of the employer as is necessary to enable those employees to perform their work in a way that is safe and without risks to health
Employers also have an obligation to consult, so far as is reasonably practicable, with employees and any HSRs on matters related to health and safety that directly affect them, or that are likely to directly affect them. This duty to consult also extends to independent contractors, including employees of the independent contractor, engaged by the employer in relation to matters over which the employer has control.
While at work, employees also have duties under the OHS Act to take reasonable care for their own health and safety and the health and safety of others who may be affected by their acts or omissions in the workplace. Employees must also co-operate with their employer's actions to make the workplace safe and comply with the OHS Act and Regulations.
The WorkSafe website has guidance about the occupational health and safety (OHS) responsibilities of employers and employees.
This information is from 'Manual handling in the food manufacturing industry: A guide for employers'. The complete guide is available in two formats.