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Automating the manual packing of boxes lowered risk of MSD’s and reduced sickness absences

Multi-bags of snacks were packed into boxes by operators standing at a conveyor line. The work required rapid repetitive movements, paced by the speed of the conveyor. Taller operators had to stoop and shorter ones had to work with raised arms. Aches and pains were common and one packer was on long term sick leave with an upper limb disorder.

The employer investigated various ways of altering the workstations but decided that automation was the best solution. This was done without affecting productivity and the surplus staff were retrained and redeployed elsewhere in the factory.

Automation of six packing lines greatly lowered the risk of musculoskeletal disorders and reduced sickness absences. It also produced substantial reductions in the numbers of supervisors and operators required for the work, and this helped to offset the cost.

Updated 2014-04-15