Choosing right handling equipment can help firms overcome staff shortages: Dominic Slingsby

Supply chain issues have affected businesses in every industry, both across the UK and globally. Widespread backlogs and shortages are crippling UK businesses, as the impact of volatile global markets continues to have an effect.

Adding more pressure to this are the labour shortages that have hit businesses across the public and private sectors, with 75 per cent of companies struggling to hire staff according to research by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC). The hospitality industry has been particularly badly hit, with a joint survey by UK trade bodies finding that 45 per cent of operators have had to cut capacity and trading hours due to staff shortages, costing them £21 billion in lost revenue.

The right labour-saving and handling equipment is vital to help overcome these delays and staff shortages. Manual handling jobs are made easier and quicker to complete, therefore keeping your business running smoothly. Not only this, but under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 it is your legal obligation to minimise manual handling in the workplace where possible.

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There are many different kinds and categories of handling equipment.

Dominic Slingsby shares his expert insight. Picture: Roger MoodyDominic Slingsby shares his expert insight. Picture: Roger Moody
Dominic Slingsby shares his expert insight. Picture: Roger Moody

Sack trucks and platform trucks are among the most common types of hand-operated trucks, made up of a frame, platform, and wheels. They are also one of the most versatile pieces of labour-saving equipment and can be used for many different applications. Platform trucks with swivel wheels, for example, can more easily navigate tight corners in offices and school buildings, those with higher capacity ratings may find more use in industrial settings.

In the hospitality industry, lifting and handling-related injuries are the second-most common workplace injury, so it’s important to make sure you’ve got the right equipment to minimise the physical effort of staff. Shelf and container trollies are a very efficient way of moving items to where they need to go. Hotels and other accommodations, for instance, rely heavily on quick turnover when it comes to housekeeping. This can be even more difficult in the face of severe staff shortages. Making the routine processes as easy and swift as possible is of the utmost importance.

Hand Pallet trucks or pallet jacks are another important piece of equipment where goods are primarily transported on pallets, such as in warehouses and distribution centres in the logistics industry.

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Equally, if your business often moves heavy-duty loads, electric drive-powered tugs may be a better solution for increasing efficiency. Tugs are a higher value investment, but they are well worth it for the advantages they bring to your operations.

If your facility works with large quantities of items, it’s best to use equipment that is designed to move items in bulk, simultaneously. Conveyor systems are a good example of this.

This is not an exhaustive list of handling equipment, however, the types mentioned here are some of the most commonly used for warehouse operations regardless of what industry you work in.

It’s never been more important to help your workforce maximise their time and energy by introducing labour-saving equipment that assists with handling and mobility. There are many more benefits aside of improving productivity.

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As both employers and employees continue to prioritise welfare, implementing the right equipment can help staff feel safer and more able to complete their tasks, leaving them feeling more valued and your facility running more efficiently.

Dominic Slingsby is Operations Director at Slingsby.

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