Even with the growing sophistication of warehouse automation systems, most warehousing and distribution operations still use processes that require manual handling.
This is when a load is transported or supported by hand or bodily force using lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, moving or carrying, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The movement of loads is typical in scenarios such as receiving stock, placing stock into your storage system, whether that be pallet racking or industrial shelving, and the general day-to-day movement of stock around a warehouse, such as during an inventory check or reorganisation.
The types of manual handling equipment available to help carry out these tasks safely and efficiently vary in terms of design, function and cost.
And whatever the manual handling equipment, its use and maintenance is governed by regulation while the environment in which it operates must be controlled and assessed – safety is paramount.
Types of Manual Handling Equipment
The most common types of manual handling equipment and their variations include:
Sack trucks are a basic piece of equipment designed for moving quantities of items without overwhelming the person using it. At its most basic, a sack truck is a pair of wheels with a metal supporting back on which to place the goods. At the other end of the scale, heavy duty sack trucks can be used for heavier objects such as white goods and sack trucks with a specially designed wheel system can be taken up and down stairs.
Pallet trucks are used for moving wooden and plastic pallets precisely into storage locations that a fork life truck cannot access. Some trucks are more sophisticated and are powered and come with pumps and pneumatic lifts for greater ease of shifting larger items. Pallet trucks can be used as a cost-aware alternative to a forklift truck.
Scissor Lift Tables
Scissor lift tables are an important type of manual handling equipment that works well in packaging, shipping or production line processes. Scissor lift tables raise and lower large objects either manually or can be powered to transport loads easily between warehouse areas. They can also be used as flexible work surfaces in their own right.
Stacking goods can be a tricky process for warehousing staff and stackers help by moving objects up and down and enabling their positioning in constricted areas for example. Stackers can support a wide range of weight and the in-built tray can be moved manually or can be powered.
Other manual handling equipment includes pallet stackers, powered trucks and trolleys, castored trays and wheels, roll pallets and pallet boxes, forklift trucks, that come with attachments, suction lifters and beams.
Guidance on Manual Handling
The range of manual handling equipment means the right piece of equipment exists for the handling task that is required. However, what does not vary is the advice about the safe use of the equipment.
The HSE says that manual handling causes over a third of all workplace injuries and provides a detailed set of rules and guidance for safe handling processes.
In short, with so many manual handling equipment options, it can be difficult to make the right choice about which pieces of kit are compatible with your storage system, use case, and budget.
At Quickline, we are here to help you make the right decisions for your business so contact us, we would be happy to hear from you.