Avoiding potential OHS issues associated with manual labour

Static roller beds and other manual handling aids can minimise the stress of manual labour.
Static roller beds and other manual handling aids can minimise the stress of manual labour.

Anyone associated with the handling and processing of core samples will understand all of the issues associated with the manual handling of heavy loads.

Manual handling processes are still common at remote sites, and so the processing of core samples in trays presents its own unique set of problems to processing staff.

Invariably due to site conditions, heavy core trays – usually of considerable size and weight – will, in general, be handled by core sampling staff through purely manual means.

Manual processing problems

This manual processing poses some considerable problems in simple logistics, as well as to the operator's mental and physical wellbeing – some of which are:

  • Lifting of heavy loaded core trays as they are received and loading them onto the sample processing benches or roller racks.
  • Sliding the heavy trays over solid bench surfaces.
  • Achieving a natural flow in the processing of samples for cataloguing and preparing for the core library.
  • Moving of fully loaded trays throughout the sampling area or from one test position to another.
  • Changing the direction of the core tray or transferring them to parallel or perpendicular processing positions.
  • Unloading and removal of the processed and catalogued trays and / or stacking them for removal.

Solutions to minimise strenuous manual activity

So how can you avoid potential OHS issues associated with lifting, pushing and bending whilst working with heavy sample trays?

In recent years a lot of work has been undertaken by various tray manufacturers through delivering newly designed trays that are lighter and more readily handled. Older style metal trays have, in a lot of cases, been replaced by moulded polymer trays with removable inserts which can be designed to stack and store more readily.

Furthermore, important work in other areas that minimises the majority of the strenuous manual labour requirements has been achieved by the inclusion of static roller beds and other manual handling aids within the core sampling areas.

These static roller based manual aids, provide operational improvements by assisting "flow" and provide much better area utilisation within the core processing sheds, or to the core library. Pieces of equipment that can make tasks of a manual labour intensive nature (such as the movement of core trays) effortless are invaluable and are now readily available.

Moreover, this type of equipment has the added convenience of being able to change direction easily and to facilitate transfer between storage lanes. This equipment can be sourced in a number of configurations to suit all applications.

In addition to this, hardware that is usually operated on a level plane can be supplemented with equipment that allows for elevation change between levels or which can be supplied to assist with loading / unloading applications.

Each core sampling site is different and requires considerable thought when designing a suitable route plan. Consideration may well be made to engage a specialist to give advice on layout design as well as hardware recommendations.

Adept is an Australian manufacturing company that manufactures a broad range of conveyor-based core tray handling aids for use in core sheds, and has an in-house design team that can consult and advise on clients' individual plans.