How a Simple Tool is Helping to Eliminate Australia’s No. 1 Worksite Injury Risk

Lifting, carrying and handling unwieldy equipment remains an all-too-common feature of the industrial worksite.

Indeed, despite an ever-increasing reliance on mechanical devices, the vast majority of equipment and material handling is still performed manually.

Yet haphazard worksite practices, such as lifting or releasing objects below knee level – evidenced throughout Australian worksites – remains one of the most serious and prevalent injury risks, accounting for roughly four-fifths of work-related injuries to the lower back and spine.

The increasing emphasis on ergonomic health in state-based OH&S regulations has sought to address these injurious worksite practices. As such, the onus rests on worksite managers to recognise and root out practices and equipment that inhibit workers’ ability to perform manual functions safely and without risk of injury.

Load Gains = Financial Pains

Workplace injury is serious financial burden for Australian industry. In the 2008–09 financial year alone, Safe Work Australia estimates the financial fallout from workplace injury and illness at upwards of $60 billion, equivalent to 4.6% GDP.

Injuries to the back or spine account for one-fifth of serious worker compensation claims1, presenting one the most common and insidious workplace injuries.

Regrettably, work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) remain the leading cause of lost workday injuries, delivering not only a substantial financial burden for business, but a serious health and social impost for individuals and the community.

According to Safe Work Australia, the physical fallout from WMSDs can vary enormously: from intermittent pain and slight discomfort, to severe debilitation where the degree of pain and loss of functional capacity renders even simple day-to-day tasks impossible.

While no singular approach will eliminate injury risks entirely from physically demanding tasks, the effective implementation of control programs, training and physical regimens, and ergonomically sensitive work equipment can greatly mitigate the WMSD risks and ensure mandated compliance with local OH&S requirements.

Could the Humble Reel Prove Your Ergonomic Hero?

Industry today recognises the tangible benefits of hose reels to the modern worksite: prolonging the service life of hose lines, maintaining an orderly worksite, and removing the ‘trip and slip’ hazard of loose hose lines. Yet few would recognise lesser-seen benefits that hose reels bring to reducing the ergonomic burden of unwieldy hose lines.

The operational weight of an industrial hose line, depending on dimensions and constituent materials, presents a potentially injurious load burden for users. An individual hose can weigh in excess of 40kgs, which, without proper provisioning, can present a palpable injury risk for users.

A quality hose reel offers maximum support for the weight of the hose line, significantly reducing the carrying burden and physical strain on users. What’s more, by supporting the vast bulk of the line load, reels aid in the precise delivery of fluids to required work areas, such as grease conveyance to difficult-to-reach zerk nipples or direct water injection for targeted cleaning and maintenance.

Properly calibrated, a quality reel will position the hose line at the optimal handling height for users, and prevent undue bending or straining of knees and pressure on the spine during operation, providing superior ergonomic support.

For over 30 years, Recoila has been at the forefront of innovation and design for industrial hose reels. Recoila is committed to delivering reel solutions tailored for the rigours and requirements of Australia’s most stringent OH&S standards.

Recoila’s ergonomically inspired designs will not only ensure unfettered movement around the worksite, but support users in the safe handling and use of cumbersome industrial hoses.

For more tips on preserving your worksite hoses, or for specialist advice on selecting the right hose reel for your needs, visit us at www.recoila.com.au or contact ReCoila directly on +61 2 9621 8988

1. Serious claims involve a death, a permanent incapacity or a temporary incapacity requiring an absence from work of one working week or more.

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