A cosmetic product was repeatedly handled within a factory while being moved, checked, stored and filled into bottles. The product was difficult to handle as it had to be heated and stirred at each stage to keep it fluid. Lifting the product out of containers required operators to work in an awkward stooped position. Risk assessment showed this was causing a high risk of musculoskeletal disorders.
The employer set up a project team to investigate.
The solution adopted was to manufacture the product in smaller vessels that could be transported within the factory and incorporated a hot water system to keep the product warm and fluid. This enabled a pump to be used to transfer the product into bottles at the end of the process.
These changes were put into effect and monitored. They succeeded in virtually eliminating the manual handling risks, and also reduced wastage, risks of contamination and the time taken to move the product from manufacture to bottle-filling.
The investigation costs and the purchase price of new equipment was offset by the time savings achieved and the reductions in waste.