TLIA2013 – Unload, unpack and store stock Copy
Element 3: Unload, unpack and store stock
3.1 – Appropriate manual handling techniques and equipment are identified
Having determined whether the goods are acceptable or unacceptable, you will now need to store them in your organisation. When you are carrying goods, you must make sure to do so in a way that won’t injure yourself.
Common factors that contribute to injuries include:
- Repetitive movement (e.g. rotating chemical equipment)
- Sustained movement (e.g. holding a trigger down)
- High movement (e.g. lifting or carrying objects)
- Sudden movement (e.g. equipment recoiling)
- Poor posture
- Forceful activities.
You will also be susceptible if you have existing injuries or weaknesses. If you feel unable to perform the tasks in any way, you should tell your supervisor immediately.
To minimise the chance of risks of injury, you should:
Take frequent rests or whenever you feel fatigued
Vary movement and tasks
Use proper techniques, especially when lifting. Ask your employer if you are unsure about these
Request help if necessary
Work as a team or request help from other people.
Lifting objects is one of the common workplace tasks, from boxes to heavy machinery. If it is absolutely essential that you do it and there are no ways to automate the task, you should follow standard lifting procedure.
- Size up the lift
- Test it for weight
- If the load is too heavy or awkward, get help rather than attempting it by yourself
- Place your feet a good distance apart
- For good balance, put one foot beside the load and one slightly behind it
- Bend your knees while keeping a straight back
- Grip the load firmly with both hands. Keep it close to body
- Raise your head and pull your chin in to keep your back straight
- Tighten your stomach muscles
- Lift the load to waist level by straightening your legs. Keep elbows close to your body
- Do not twist whilst handling load; turn by moving your feet
- To put down the load, use the same principles; straight back and bend the knees.
Team handling is manual handling of a load by two or more workers. Team handling brings its own risks and requires coordination. It should only be used as an interim control measure. Ensure that the number of workers is in proportion to the weight and difficulty of the lift, and make sure that the weight is shared equally. Also ensure that there is sufficient room before you start the lift.
Various aids to assist with handling can be used to make it safer and easier. These include stretchers, slings, straps, lifting bars, lifting tongs, trolleys and hoists.
Lifting and handling equipment is used to move loads safely and efficiently. They are often used when the load is particularly, large, heavy or delicate.
Load handling equipment may include:
Hydraulic lifting/pulling machinery
Hoists and winches
You should ensure you are trained in using the equipment before you do so. Also check the equipment to make sure it has been properly maintained, especially before potentially dangerous manoeuvres. Look for any signs of wear and tear.
When choosing equipment, consider the size and type of the load. For example, you wouldn’t need a fork lift truck to transport a small box. You should also determine how much hazard transporting the load poses to you and people around you; the greater the risk, the more equipment you should use.
Before you attempt to move a load, you should estimate its size, shape, weight and any other requirements. This will help you to determine what manual handling techniques or equipment you will need.
You should ask:
- Can I move this by myself?
- Does it have an awkward shape that will require more people?
- Is it light enough to move safely by myself?
- Does it have any special requirements, such as:
- being delicate?holding live animals?
- being hazardous in any way?
- needing to be kept at a particular temperature?
These questions will allow you to more closely determine the requirements for unloading, unpacking and storing the stock.
3.2 – Safe work procedures are used when unloading, unpacking and storing stock
Safe work procedures
You should follow your organisation’s safe work procedures while unloading, unpacking and storing stock. These will help minimise your exposure to various hazards.
One important aspect of working safely is to carry out a risk assessment before doing anything that may be potentially dangerous. Consider what hazards are present and what personal protective equipment or equipment can be used to minimise these risks.
Hazards in the work area may include exposure to:
Dangerous or hazardous substances
Movements of equipment, goods and materials
Oil or water on floor
Fire or explosion
Damaged packaging or pallets
Debris on floor
Poorly stacked pallets
Ensure that you are properly trained for all tasks that you undertake. If you aren’t you may cause harm to yourself and others. Involving other people in tasks may also make the work safer, as long as they are appropriately trained.
Personal protective equipment
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is used to protect yourself against hazards in the workplace that you will encounter while moving goods. There are various types which often need to be used together. You should determine what PPE is required by the job you are doing and any equipment you are using.
Note that PPE should be a last resort. If there is any possible way to avoid using it, such as making the job safer or avoiding it, you should do that instead; however this will often be unavoidable when working in certain environments.
|Type of PPE||Part of body and use||Picture|
|Ear muffs/plugs||Protect the ears. They should be worn when working in a noisy area or when using a noisy machine.|
|Safety glasses and goggles||Protect the eyes. They should be worn when using chemicals or applying chemicals in a high place.|
|Protect hands from chemicals.
Longer and thicker gloves are used to protect workers from being stabbed by needles.
|Protect body from exposure to strong chemicals.
Should include high visibility vest/clothing.
Overalls and other protective clothing.
|Face mask and/or respirator||Protects the worker from inhaling dust and chemicals.
May be required if workers work in confined spaces.
Safety boots should be slip resistant to stop the chance of slips and falls. Rubber soled shoes can be protection against electrocution.
Safety shoes should also have impact protection in work areas where heavy objects such as tools can be accidentally dropped on the feet.
|Hard hats||Protect heads from falling debris or overhead hazards.|
|Wet work clothing||Coats, rubber boots and water proof pants are used to protect workers against exposure to the elements. Workers can work outside for long hours. In these instances, they will be provided with wet work clothing.|
Image source: http://www.rqaa.info/PPESafetyPictures.html
Obstacles are any physical objects that will make it more difficult to complete your job. They may be either temporary or permanent, and can be caused by poor housekeeping or poor workplace design.
Obstacles may include:
The most dangerous hazards are the ones that aren’t obvious, either because they blend into the workplace, can’t be identified easily and may change regularly. This prevents people from anticipating and avoiding them.
The most effective (although expensive) control measure is to redesign the workplace to minimise obstacles or keeping them away from the workplace. You can also institute policies to deal with obstacles. For example, to deal with cables or cords which can trip people up, you could instruct people to bundle them together with cable organisers, use wall-mounted storage hooks or keep certain areas free of cables.
3.3 – Advice is sought on appropriate storage locations and requirements for particular products
Goods are usually stored once they have been unloaded, unless they need to be used immediately. Most workplaces will have a range of possible storage locations for different types and quantities of goods.
Storage locations may be on or offsite and include:
Fridges or freezers
Designated hazardous substance storage areas.
You should choose suitable storage areas for the goods. For example, food will need to be refrigerated to a suitable temperature until it is ready to be used to prevent the growth of bacteria. Also consider whether the substance will be hazardous or volatile in an inappropriate storage area, such as chemicals that need to be kept still. They may also need to be segregated from others.
If you aren’t sure where the best storage location is, you should seek advice from other people in your organisation. These may be people who have more knowledge of the goods or are responsible for administering storage areas.
You may need to record which goods are stored where in order to find them quickly later. In large storage areas like warehouses, you may need to make note of the row or box. Records can be recorded either on paper or electronically.
Storage locations are more likely to be confined spaces; you should employ additional PPE and caution whenever you are working in areas which are cramped, confined or have low ceilings. You may need to conduct a risk assessment of hazards in the environment, such as lack of oxygen, poor light, dust, hot working conditions or build-up of gases.
Try to never work alone in confined spaces; if you have to, you should inform others where you are going and be aware of the relevant emergency procedures. Also ensure you have the appropriate equipment (e.g. hard hats, lights) and take breaks whenever you need to.
3.4 – Goods are unloaded and unpacked in accordance with workplace procedures
Unloading and unpacking
Unloading is one of the most accident-prone times during the transportation process; therefore, you will need to take additional care to follow your organisation’s procedures.
When unloading or unpacking goods, you may need to consider:
Manual handling equipment and team members available
Safe work procedures
The destination that goods are being transported to
Other objects or people in the area.
Try to clear the area as much as possible before beginning unloading. Remove all unnecessary objects and equipment from the area; pedestrians may get hurt and people may trip over unseen obstacles. Remove any trailing wires or cables from the area and try to make it as flat as possible. If you are unloading from a vehicle, make sure it is on firm, flat ground and will not move.
Employ any mechanical lifting aids that you need in order to make the work less dangerous. If anything may become caught in the machinery, use guards or skirting plates to prevent this.
Goods are often unloaded onto pallets, as this allows them to be easily transported around the organisation by forklift trucks. Make sure they are stacked levelly and safely so they won’t fall over and are secured down.
In some cases, the drivers delivering the goods will unload them; this should be agreed beforehand between both companies to prevent confusion. You should also confirm before unloading takes place that the loads haven’t shifted and they aren’t likely to fall or collapse.
Safeguards to stop drivers driving away too soon include:
Stop and go lights
Person responsible for unloading removing keys from vehicle.
Pay particular attention to these safeguards if there is a communication barrier, such as if you don’t share a language or the workplace is particularly noisy.
Once you have completed the unloading process from the vehicle, you may need to unpack the goods into smaller objects that will be easier to handle.
At this point, you should consider hazards that might be posed by the goods, which can be identified by the codes discussed below.
You can improve the unpacking conditions by working with suppliers. Explain to them what requirements you have and how you would prefer it to be packed if possible.
Start planning how you will unpack it before you do so, and communicate this to your team. If you need specialist equipment like knives to open containers or slings to lift objects out of containers, you should ensure all employees are properly trained.
If you are unpacking a shipping container, many of the same guidelines to unloading will apply. Make sure the contents aren’t liable to shift or fall during unpacking. Braces and frames can be used to reduce this risk. Be particularly aware of workers being trapped; this risk can be reduced by opening both ends of a container or removing the roof.
Containers and goods coding
Containers may have a range of markings, codes and emergency information panels that will inform you about precautions you should take when you unload them.
Australian Dangerous Goods Code
ADG Code means the Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road and Rail, 7th edition, approved by the Australian Transport Council. The ADG Code is accessible at the National Transport Commission website: www.ntc.gov.au
Dangerous Goods are substances or articles that are hazardous to people and to property. You will likely come across flammable and corrosive chemicals at some points. A lot of care is needed to handle, store and transport these chemicals.
The Dangerous Goods Handling Regulations are designed to prevent accidents and to provide safety standards to protect the community, the worker and the environment from the effects of fires and explosions.
The nine hazard pictograms that are representative of the physical, health and/or environmental hazards are:
International Maritime Dangerous Goods
The International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code applies to the transportation of dangerous or hazardous goods by sea. The aim is to prevent harm to employees involved with the transition and reduce pollution to the sea. The code covers the loading and unloading of goods.
Substances are divided into classes:
- Class 1: Explosives
- Class 2: Gases
- Class 3: Flammable liquids
- Class 4: Flammable solids
- Class 5: Oxidising substances and organic peroxides
- Class 6: Toxic and infectious substances
- Class 7: Radioactive substances
- Class 8: Corrosive substances
- Class 9: Miscellaneous dangerous substances and articles.
Containers will likely include information on what to do in case of an emergency. The definition of an emergency will vary depending on the type of goods, but may include fire, leaking goods or spillages.
Chemical SDSs (Safety Data Sheets) contain a variety of information on emergency responses, including:
- Firefighting measures (including type of fire extinguisher, hazards from the burning chemical, required PPE and other precautions)
- Accidental release measures (including methods and materials for cleaning up, required PPE)
- Exposure controls (how to eliminate or minimise risks associated with exposure to hazardous chemicals)
- Toxological information (including effects of chemicals due to inhalation, ingestion or skin contact)
- Ecological information (including effect on the environment, organisms, animals and the ozone layer)
- Disposal considerations (including how to safely dispose of it, e.g. incineration, landfill).
3.5 – Assistance is sought from others as required to maintain safe and effective work
You may need to seek assistance from other employees, including your supervisors and colleagues, to carry out the unloading and unpacking properly.
You may need assistance relating to:
Information about goods
Available equipment and team mates
Manual handling as a team
Advice on moving goods.
If you ever feel like your safety may be placed in jeopardy, you should seek help. Remember that accidents can cause harm to yourself, others, the workplace environment and property. Therefore, it is better to be cautious and ask for help rather than risking your safety.
You should be clear and concise when asking for advice from other employees. If they aren’t available immediately, be patient or ask somebody else. For example:
“I need to move some chemicals; what equipment would you advise to move them? I have a trolley but I’m not able to secure them down.”
Communication is important in everyday work processes. You may receive information in the form of instructions verbally from a range of people, including colleagues, supervisors and clients. You should listen to these properly.
You may have to listen to:
It is important to actively listen to people when they are speaking to you. It may be helpful to take notes and pay full attention to people.
Paying attention to the person
Stopping anything else you are doing (e.g. phone, computer)
Considering their words and meaning carefully
Not considering your reply until the person has finished speaking.
It is sometimes said that people need to listen with a ‘third ear’. This means paying attention to what is hinted at and underlying emotions. Listen to the tone and the way words are said. Nonverbal behaviour may provide more information or even contradict what is being said. Also consider the wider context, which may go unsaid. You may need to ask questions to clarify aspects. For example, if the person replied: “No, we’ve not had any trouble recently,” this may lead you to enquire what trouble they had in the past if you didn’t already know.
Whenever other people lend you their assistance, you should be respectful and try to facilitate teamwork.
Teamwork skills include:
- Clear communication: Making sure everybody understands their roles and responsibilities
- Participating: Making contributions to discussions regarding how work should be carried out
- Listening: Ensuring you know what other people in the team think
- Planning: Working out a plan to implement as a team
- Respectful communication: Respecting differences such as religion, race, gender and physical abilities, and not discriminating based on them.
When situations deviate from what you have planned, you will need to adapt to it and modify your activities.
Problems that may occur when receiving goods may include:
Damaged pallets or packaging
Error in paperwork
Poorly stacked stock
You may also face a range of workplace issues, such as required equipment not being available, personnel with the required skills/knowledge not being available, emergency or risk situations and changes to the environment.
In response to these changing circumstances, you will have to modify your activities accordingly. You should prioritise following workplace safety procedures over completing it on time, as this may lead to accidents. Ask for further assistance from colleagues wherever necessary. You may also need to speak to your supervisor about extensions for your deadlines.
3.6 – Directions are followed to store stock in appropriate areas
Once you have received the appropriate instructions and assistance to store the goods, you will need to carry them out. If you don’t understand any aspect of the directions, you will need to ask questions to clarify.
Directions may include:
- Stock that is to be transported
- Storage locations (note two or more locations may be used for stock)
- Time restrictions
- Equipment to be used
- Contingency plans.
As usual, you should inform your supervisor if you don’t have the necessary resources to complete the directions. (Resources may include equipment, experience, knowledge or other people.) Do not attempt a task that you do not feel prepared for as this may cause injury to yourself and others. Under WHS legislation, employers are required to provide you with the necessary training and resources to carry it out safely.
Housekeeping standards and procedures
Housekeeping means ensuring that the workplace is suitable to conduct the required activities in. It shouldn’t be dangerous or hazardous in any way. For example, water on the floor could cause a serious accident if you are required to move heavy goods.
Accidents that can be prevented by good housekeeping include:
Tripping over loose items
Falling down stairs
Objects falling on employees
Walking into badly stacked objects
Cutting themselves on protruding nails or other hazards.
If you identify any housekeeping problems while transporting goods to the storage area, you should assess whether it is safe for you to continue. It may be quicker in the long-term to resolve the hazard than ignore it and come back later. You should also inform the relevant people so other people aren’t affected by it.
Good housekeeping includes:
- Cleaning up mess created during the shift (e.g. empty boxes, items on floor)
- Posting signs that alert people to hazards (e.g. ‘Caution – Wet floor)
- Removing waste following the organisation’s procedures
- Storing unused materials
- Routinely cleaning dust and dirt
- Inspecting to make sure there are no unusual or uncontrolled hazards
- Cleaning surfaces and ensuring there are no lose liquids, dust or chips
- Maintaining employee facilities (e.g. toilets, showers, changing areas)
- Keeping aisles/stairways clear
- Cleaning up spills.