Lifting is a primary cause of injury in the food processing industry.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, around a quarter of all manufacturing sector accidents happen in the food and beverage industry — with most of those injuries due to repetitive or improper lifting.
That should come as no surprise.
The most common tasks performed in the food processing industry are considered risk factors for injury. These include lifting, moving, handling, loading, and maintaining an awkward body position, such as when stirring product in large vats.
Investing in lift assist devices, such as a column dumper, is essential for reducing the risk of injury.
How a Column Dumper Reduces the Risk of Injury
Integrating a column dumper into your processes is an effective way to reduce the risk of employee injuries.
Take the Weight of the Load
Regularly lifting product onto a conveyor or into any number of different types of equipment wears on the body.
Whether that product is light or not, the constant lifting throughout an 8 or 10 hour shift will begin to cause fatigue and soreness.
Once fatigue starts to set in, injuries occur.
A column dumper helps eliminate the fatigue of lifting by taking the weight of the load off your employees.
Rather than lifting all day, they simply need to load the buggy or pallet into the dumper and use the machine to do the lifting for them.
Reduces Upper Limb Disorders
Lifting all day puts strain on the body, which can lead to work-related upper limb disorders (WRULDs).
These are injuries to the back and/or shoulders from lighter, repetitive lifting, often involving physical contortions and bending that happen when loading product into stuffers, cutters, and other equipment with high infeed chutes.
A column dumper is the perfect solution to reduce the risk of WRULDs. Rather than having employees lift product overhead, a dumper should be used to load any equipment where the infeed is above shoulder level.
Reduces Repetitive Motion
Loading product into equipment or onto a conveyor all day is often a repetitive motion, which happens to be a risk factor for musculoskeletal disorders.
Highly repetitive movements, those performed over and over again for extended periods of time, can wear away at joints, muscles, and tendons and lead to MSD’s. These movements are often found in positions with hourly or daily production targeted roles.
A column dumper reduces the risk of injury by removing that repetitive motion.
Rather than loading product by hand, your employees need only push a buggy into the dumper and let the machine do the work of lifting.
Reduces Awkward Posture
Equipment with an infeed or chute that causes employees to lift product above their heads or extend out from their body puts them in an awkward posture — another risk factor for musculoskeletal disorders.
Awkward postures are those in which the joints are held or moved away from the body’s natural position. This places excessive stress and force on joints and overloads the muscles, leading to fatigue. When joints are worked outside of this normal range for long periods of time, the risk for MSD’s increase.
A column dumper allows your employees to load product into your equipment without contorting themselves into awkward positions.
The dumper can be sized to lift your product to the right height and fit around your equipment to make loading safe and easy for your employees.
Safety Features to Look for in a Column Dumper
While investing in a column dumper is a great way to reduce the risk of employee injuries, not all column dumpers are safe to use.
Look for these features to ensure your employees are safe while using a column dumper:
- Electrical safety devices, including adjustable, upper and lower limit switches;
- Fork with mechanical lock and mechanical fall safety device;
- An emergency stop button on the control panel;
- Hold-to-run button that requires the operator to keep his or her hands on the controls during operation;
- An electrical brake on the gear motor that prevents the fork from falling during an accidental power cut;
- Safety cage or bars that keeps employees out of the range of movement.
Invest in a Column Dumper
When you’re ready to invest in a column dumper for your facility, contact the team at Fusion Tech. Our food processing experts can answer any questions you have and recommend the right product to fit your specific needs. We can also arrange a product test in our Innovation Center, allowing you to try our Kittner Column Dumpers before you buy.