Work in distribution centres (DCs) is characterised by repetitive lifting and sorting task. Workers spend most of their workday locating and moving boxes onto pallets (called picking) -up to between 8 to 20 tonnes per shift, per person. Despite many precautions taken, these tasks result in injuries.
One of Australia’s largest supply chain organisations is seeking solutions that can contribute to a sustained reduction in the rate of injuries occurring on the job. A combination of solutions will likely be needed to achieve injury reduction goals. We will entertain a range of potential solutions including, but not limited to: fatigue measurement, predictive analytics and any other technologically-oriented solutions that will help employees avoid injury. We welcome ideas about commercially-available solutions, late-stage ideas that need some further development and testing, or even new research ideas altogether.
- The chance to work with an ASX 50 firm, one of the largest supply chain organisations in Australia, to develop and potentially commercialise your ideas / technologies
- Create a positive, lasting impact on industry
- Learn about the business of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG)
Technical Criteria & Supporting Information
- The solution must fit within the current operational structure of picking (i.e. no changes to work content, employee roles and responsibilities, organisational structures nor infrastructure will be considered).
- The solution should focus on, and apply to, the individual worker (rather than a system or operational level change –also, see above bullet).
- The solution should be proactive (e.g. predictive, preventative) not reactive or remedial.
Technology already considered
-The client has considered technologies aimed at tracking, reducing, preventing stress and strain on workers, some of which may still be under consideration.
Additional available data (for successful applicants)
- Historical Injury data (last 5 years)
- Detailed H&S analysis of occupational hazards
- Ancillary needs to support your idea: in responding, please indicate your need for facilities, equipment or resources that may be required to test your idea or demonstrate proof of concept.
Injury mechanisms, bodily locations
Mechanisms Location Frequency
Lifting / carrying 29% Back 26%
Object handling 22% Arms 21%
Repetitive mov’t. 13% Legs 17%
Over exertion 6% Head 14%
Slips and trips 6% Hands 14%
Other 24% Other 8%
Description of picking work
Type Item wt. (kg) Cadence (sec) Height diff. (m) Carry time (%) Duration (h)**
Liquor 14 10-20 0.1-1.68 34-65 6-10
Ambient 1-10 10-20 0.1-1.68 34-65 6-10
To Belt 1-12 -- 0.1-1 34-65 6-10
To Tote 1-12 3-5 0.5-1 34-65 6-10
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