Increasing safety in wood products industry

Handling both raw materials and finished items in wood product manufacturing is in some ways a perfect storm of lifting challenges. Combining large material sizes, weights, and often porous surfaces with hard to manoeuvre forms, the manual handling solutions in use- such as moving large plywood or wood sheets or furniture - makes following safety procedures difficult but necessary.

TAWI - for a safe and profitable wood products industry

Lifting any large or heavy product requires power, and positioning these cumbersome products accurately requires a high level of dexterity and precision. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the wood products industry, where lifting and moving large and heavy pieces is not only common, it is a daily requirement.

Ironically enough, the very things that make MFD or plywood sheets such great materials are also the factors that make them so difficult to lift safely. A full-size sheet of ¾" plywood weighs from 25 to 32 kg, MFD even more. And if you are producing products from the raw materials, then the challenges change along the way. Moving the raw material from storage to the workstations along the production line, moving the partially finished product along the line, and then loading the finished product for transport - all require multiple employees and pose numerous risks to both your workforce and the products. And the finished product - furniture - comes in all shapes and sizes, which places further challenges to your manual lifting procedures.

Did you know?

  • Manual handling is a leading cause of work-related injuries when dealing with wood sheets or furniture
  • Manual handling can cause strains and sprains, back injuries, lacerations and fractures, and even fatalities
  • Manual handling injuries often stem from jobs involving heavy or awkward loads
  • Repetitive stress injuries arise from tasks that involve difficulty in gripping, excessive use of force, repetition, twisting and other awkward postures
  • Stress and strain injuries over time can result in permanent disability

A number of manual handling risks have been identified in wood product workplaces, including poorly designed delivery and dispatch areas, working at the wrong height while manufacturing and assembling products, and moving materials and products through the workshop.

The great deal of manual handling involved in the manufacture of wooden products - from doors and windows, roof trusses and wall frames, to kitchen cabinets and joineries and everything in between - greatly increases the likelihood of products being damaged and the likelihood of workers getting injured. Poor working posture can lead to a variety of problems such as pains in the lower back, shoulder or neck. And a single accident can derail an entire working day or - in extreme cases - an entire business.

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