Lead Forensics

South Cumbrian recycling boxes made smaller to reduce injuries

South Lakeland District Council in South Cumbria is replacing its 55-litre recycling boxes with 44-litre ones, because the larger boxes were causing bin collectors back pain and making them overtired.

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are a major cause of council staff taking time off work. By reducing the size of recycling boxes, the council hopes to cut the number of workers suffering from MSD.

A council spokesperson said:

‚ÄúThis has been identified as a way to reduce the potential risk of MSDs. There is now clear evidence associated with the risk factors of the weight and frequency of manual handling of 55-litre boxes. The 44-litre boxes are the same length and breadth as the 55-litre boxes and should be capable of fulfilling households’ needs.”

Many warehouses move goods using large tote boxes. Warehouse trolley manufactures design trolleys to make moving boxes easier, but they may still need to be manually lifted on and off their work aids. The Lakeland experience highlights the need to look at the size of boxes used and the weight that they carry. If a business finds that some workers are suffering from MSD, like in South Cumbria, there could be a case for reducing the size of boxes or the number of items packed in each box.

There are flat trolleys available with tote boxes attached to them so that there is no need to lift the boxes. This could be another solution to prevent injuries from workers having to lift heavy items.

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