Australian Laboratory Services (ALS)
The geochemistry division of ALS specifically provides testing of metal and mineral samples. This involves handling numerous bags of sample material, which are stored in large plastic bins, stillages, or on pallets. The strain from employees bending to reach the sample bags, then lifting them, was a manual handling issue that needed to be addressed. We were approached by the HSE Manager for the geochemistry department and asked to provide a resolution.
We visited the ALS Malaga site to get an insight into the works performed by the geochemistry team, allowing us to understand the situation better. The Pallet Positioner was suggested to handle any pallets of samples – a load elevating/lowering device to provide a consistent height for users to load and unload from. To handle the plastic bins and stillages, we proposed the concept of a Pallet Jack Tilter – an electric lift and tilt device to facilitate ergonomic access to the samples. Although we didn’t have the Pallet Jack Tilter available at the time, we were able to provide plans and illustrations of the product and its suitability for the task. A quality machine was sourced that we could modify to specifically suit ALS’ needs. One unit was acquired as a sample and our in-house manufacturing team began work on the modifications – adding straddle legs for compatibility with the storage bins and cages; installing a spring-loaded safety bar to hold the storage unit in place while lifting/tilting; attaching hand shields to the handle for user protection; and improving the steel plate controls cover. Throughout the prototype manufacturing stage, a number of trials were performed at the ALS Malaga site to ensure we were on track for a right outcome. In April 2018 the Pallet Jack Tilter prototype was finalised, and 13 machines ordered for the geochemistry sites throughout Australia. On 6th August we received the shipment of machines and our manufacturing team performed the modifications over 4 weeks. All machines – both Pallet Jack Tilters and Pallet Positioners were ready for despatch on 31st August!
October 2017 – initial enquiry
February/March 2018 – prototype manufacture and trial
September 2018 – completion! Delivery of machines to 9 sites Australia-wide.
Which manual handling issue needs to be addressed in your workplace?
Tip: Don’t try to fix everything at once – just focus on one thing at a time, and get it fixed properly!
Check out the STURGO® Pallet Jack Tilter in action: