Musculoskeletal disorders risk reduction through design award 2024

This award aims to inspire employers to make changes to work processes that can reduce the risks of musculoskeletal harm to their workers.

It is open to all UK employers, whether large or small. It is sponsored by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (CIEHF).

What the award is for

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) include injuries and conditions that can affect the back, joints and limbs. The award is for companies that have made changes to their workplace, task or activities that have resulted in significantly reduced musculoskeletal risk to their employees.

This might include a reduction or elimination of manual lifting or pushing or pulling activities. It could also mean making workplace changes that:

  • prevent the need for workers to adopt awkward postures or carry out repetitive tasks
  • reduce the forces needed to use equipment

Recognising the work of SMEs

Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are the fundamental backbone of the UK economy, employing over half of the country’s workforce. They account for over 95% of private sector businesses.

We wanted to recognise the hard work and dedication of UK SMEs and their approach to risk reduction, and help support other businesses, demonstrating what is possible.

There are now 2 categories for the awards:

  • MSD risk reduction through design award
  • Small to medium enterprise (SME) recognition award

Announcement of the 2024 winners

An independent judging panel considered shortlisted nominations and selected an overall winner in both categories.

HSE are using the winning entries as case studies which we are sharing as practical examples for other employers to understand how they can reduce risk in their workplaces.

The winners were announced at the CIEHF awards event on 23 April 2024.

2024 Winner – MSD risk reduction through design award: Cranswick Gourmet Pastry Ltd

Cranswick Gourmet Pastry Ltd

Working with the operators, engineers designed an extension to a hopper, eliminating awkward manual handling of pie filling from heavy plastic trays into a tote bin. Each tray weighed around 18kg with up to 14 trays on each rack and operators had to adopt awkward postures when lifting the lower trays.

The activity was carried out on job rotation, throughout a 12-hour shift, depending upon the products being made.

The hopper topper is now moved on wheels into position by the line leader. Its pump transfers pie filling from the tote bin into the hopper. This has eliminated the need for an employee to lift the filled bucket up the steps and above head height to decant it into the hopper.

2024 Winner – Small to medium enterprise (SME) recognition award: MRF Contracting

MRF Contracting

Operators worked alongside workshop engineers and fencing managers to develop the solution of attaching a heavy post knocker to a crane to eliminate manual handling and reduce hand-arm vibration.

Whole-body vibration was also reduced by the driver and person operating the post knocker regularly rotating roles.

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