Effective mechanical aids should be used wherever they can be practically and cost-effectively employed. The introduction of mechanical aids, or any health and safety control measure, must occur in consultation with employees through established consultative processes. Prior to its introduction, all equipment needs to be evaluated for potential hazards and those hazards are to be assessed for risk.
A good example of the practical application of aids is in the movement of 44 gallon drums and the transferring of their contents. The moving of 44 gallon drums can cause severe strain to all muscle groups, and has resulted in many back injuries.
A major problem with the movement of drums is the imbalance that may be caused by their contents. Drums often hold various liquids and when in motion these liquids move which can off balance the employee. It is often difficult to assess the weight of the drum and injuries occur because the expectations of the employee when planning the lift are incorrect.
There are many devices now on the market to cater for almost all requirements and at a range of prices. The following illustrates two examples.
- Both can be used for drums of differing sizes and weights
- Hydraulic foot pump is used to lift the drum
- Gear box is used to tilt the drum
- Drums can be fitted to any angle
Hierarchy of Controls: