Goods Lifts, Service Lifts and Dumbwaiters
How service lifts help avoid manual handling injuries in the workplace and add real benefits to your organisation
Did you realise one in three accidents in the workplace are caused by manual handling?
At any one time, more than 300,000 people suffer from back pain due to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) such as injuries to the neck, arms, legs and joints resulting from poor manual handling activities or lack of appropriate lifting equipment.
It’s one of the most common causes of sickness and lost productivity, resulting in 38.8 million working days lost 2019/20. That’s an average of 18.4 days off work per person. Unfortunately, in some cases, the person never fully recovers.
Manual handling accidents can happen almost anywhere in the workplace
They can take place whilst lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling or carrying any type of load. When these activities are not carried out in the correct manner, there can be a serious risk of injury.
Many workplace injuries can be avoided by taking suitable personal precautions, such as reducing the amount of twisting, stooping and over-reaching for instance; or minimising loads and carrying distances.
Remember to incorporate lifts as well as training
But, there are situations where the volume of loads needing to be processed, the weight of individual items, or load bulk, requires the use of additional lifting equipment.
- Employees moving stock in a retail environment from back-of-store to the point of sale location in a shopping centre.
- Stock being moved between floors within a warehouse, where staff have to make repeated journeys up and down stairs carrying loads.
- In a loading bay logistics environment, where goods need to be transferred rapidly between the loading dock and HGV transportation (and vice versa).
- In a large organisational setting, such as a hospital, where bulky items have to be transferred from one location to another on a regular basis.
- Or in a hospitality setting, where loads such as food, need to be delivered from the preparation area to the front-of-house.
If you recognise any of these situations, it is highly recommended that you consider installing a service lift or goods lift to help avoid injuries in the workplace.
Invisible assistants… tangible benefits
Goods lifts and commercial lifts are all around us, but we never see them. We use them without thinking, and that’s because we’re so used to them, we just expect them to work. In essence, they remove some of the most fallible elements from the lifting activities… the human elements.
Let’s take a look at the business benefits of having a service lift installed.
Using lifts to reduce manual handling injuries
- Minimises lifting of heavy loads
Goods lifts are workhorses. They’re designed to carry huge loads day-in-day-out. In effect, they replace human muscle. Given that, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), 29% of all workplace injuries in the transportation industry originate in manually lifting and carrying, then installing a lift to reduce the number of accidents is a smart move.
- Reduces twisting injuries
Similarly, twisting whilst manually carrying loads is another major cause of workplace injuries. Lifts can be incorporated into production and distribution conveyor lines. This means that goods can be mechanically turned, lowered and delivered to the lift doors, eliminating all but essential human handling.
Unlike passenger lifts, goods lifts and service lifts are not designed for passengers other than those specifically trained in their operation. This is to limit the possibility of loads shifting and causing injuries to employees. Remote operating systems further reduce this from occurring.
By having a goods lift on premises, and assuming health and safety protocols are followed, businesses eliminate the possibility of trip and fall hazards whilst carrying heavy loads, for the simple reason there should be no need to carry goods by hand between levels. The whole action has been replaced.
Using lifts to reduce product damage from transportation
Would you believe that, on average, 2% of goods arrive at their destination in some sort of damaged state? It doesn’t have to be much damage, but it all adds up. By eliminating as much of the human element as possible, and replacing it with commercial lifts, businesses can reduce this to a minimum.
Using lifts to increase productivity
So far, we’ve simply talked about reducing risk from manual handling and damage to goods. There is another side of the coin however; that of increasing productivity through lift installation.
Goods or service lifts can be installed to eliminate or reduce part of the production, transportation or distribution process, which would originally have been manual in nature. This is a positive cost/time saving implication for businesses.
Service lifts can be installed based on business capacity needs. Working with the lift installation company, the customer can establish both current and potential future requirements. This means the customer can transport more in one journey now, and deliberately plan-in an increase in transport capacity should they see a business for need it.
Manual labour that was previously employed in the transportation of goods, can be redeployed into other parts of the production, transportation or distribution process. This is a positive resource allocation implication for businesses.
Finally, unlike humans, goods lifts are designed for more-or-less continuous use. They rarely suffer breakdowns, and their robust design standards lend them to the installation of generic parts for ease of maintenance and repair.
In addition, take for example the MRL Rhino Goods Lift, assuming it is well maintained, it will have a lifespan of more than 15 years. All of which means the business can factor the purchase in as a capital cost that can be written off year-on-year against revenue.
Manual handling injuries are one of the most common accidents in the workplace, but they needed be. Many of these can be avoided with comprehensive risk assessment, enforced procedures and good training.
But where larger volumes, repetitive loads, or heavier or more bulky goods are concerned, the answer should be to replace the human factor with an electro-mechanical alternative… a lift in other words.
Every business is different, and has different processes, needs and budgets, so this article can never cover everything required to assess and choose the most suitable goods lift or service lift for, however, I hope that we have shown there are enough benefits – both in reduction of injuries and in an increase in productivity and opportunities – to have peaked your interest.
Pickerings Lifts have been supplying goods lifts, service lifts and dumbwaiters since 1854. We are a family-run company, and the largest independent lift installation and maintenance provider across the UK.
Scotland | Tyne and Wear | North East | West Yorkshire | East Coast | North West Manchester| North West Warrington | Midlands | South West | London South | London North | South Coast | Escalators | Loading Systems North | Loading Systems North West | Loading Systems South | Mobility
Need to talk with an experienced Good Lift Project Manager? Call 0800 085 3211
Alternatively, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more in-depth enquiries