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Use of motorised tugs solves push/pull problem

An NHS trust identified a manual-handling problem with laundry trolleys. Night Porters took large heavy trolleys up to the wards with laundry supplies to last through the night. On Thursday nights they were taking up enough supplies for three days.

The solution was the purchase of hand operated motorised tugs. These are battery operated electrical motors, which can be attached, using a tow bar, to the trolleys. The trolleys no longer need to be pushed with physical force, just steered. The porters were given manual handling training in attaching the tugs to the trolleys and using the motors. In addition, the hospital put up mirrors at corridor junctions to improve visibility and 'Tugs in Operation' signs to improve safety.

In conclusion

The idea of attaching motorized tugs to trolleys can probably be used in many types of workplaces. The tugs are suitable for most types of trolley provided the trolley has been adapted to accept a tow bar. The changes were made in response a risk assessment. The risks of sustaining an MSD have now been greatly reduced.

Updated 2014-04-15