Manual handling problems and solutions for the food industry
Back injuries and upper limb disorders are a major cause of ill health in the food industry and manual handling training is largely ineffective. The Health and Safety Executive are focussing their enforcement activities on this problem area and emphasising that where mechanisation is reasonably practicable it should be introduced.
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) mainly comprise:
- work related upper limb disorders (WRULDs) from repetitive tasks
- back injuries from repetitive or awkward lifting.
In the food and drink industries, most musculoskeletal injuries arise from just 5 causes:
- cutting, boning, jointing, trussing and evisceration (such as meat and poultry)
- packing products (such as cheese, confectionery and biscuits)
- stacking/unstacking containers (such as boxes, crates and sacks)
- handling drinks containers (such as delivery of casks, kegs and crates)
- pushing wheeled racks (such as oven racks and trolleys of produce)
These are key tasks to which attention should be paid when carrying out risk assessments.
Further guidance can be found here: