Robotics may be an ingenious solution for employers in the manufacturing sector struggling to drive down injuries associated with manual handling.
That will be the message from robotics consultancy Robotize at this year's Melbourne Materials Handling show from Tuesday to Thursday this week.
Robotize director Wade Leslie pointed to statistics released in February by Safe Work Australia showing manual handling caused 41 per cent of all serious workers' compensation claims. Injuries associated with body stressing left those injured unable to return to work for a median 4.7 weeks.
"The best solution is to redesign tasks to eliminate the possibility of injuries caused by body stressing and robotics can provide the ultimate answer," says Mr Leslie.
WorkSafe Victoria's guide Manual Handling in the Automotive Industry recommends robotics to control several major hazards involving loading/unloading production plant (including presses and lathes), loading and unloading stillages and pallets and using hand tools.
Packing and inspecting products, weighing, palletising were the areas identified by WorkSafe Victoria in its Guide to Manual Handling in the Food Industry where robotics could be used to eliminate manual handling hazards.
As well as the occupational health and safety benefits of automating hazardous manual handling tasks, Mr Leslie describes the ease and speed with which a robot can perform a task like palletizing as "phenomenal".
To see robots focused on the tasks of picking, packing and stacking, visit Robotize at Melbourne Materials Handling when it runs concurrently with Safety In Action at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre from Tuesday to Thursday this week.
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