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Updated Jul 7, 2022

Solvay Derbyshire wins Risk Reduction Through Design Award

Every year the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) along with the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (CIEHF) recognise design innovations to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), at the Risk Reduction Through Design Award.

This year the award was won by chemical engineering and manufacturing specialists Solvay Derbyshire, who worked with designer Haviland Industrial Ovens to develop a solution to load resin mixing bowls into a warming oven.

The usual practice for this work activity involved two workers manually lifting 38kg resin-filled mixing bowls, from a trolley at ground level into and out of the warming over at the front of the resin film coating production line. This task could be carried out up to 48 times per shift and the company had identified this manual handling task as a significant ergonomic risk.

Solvay Derbyshire's winning design replaced the high-level oven for a floor-level one, and designed a bespoke oven with a removable handle that allowed the resin bowl to be wheeled directly into it. This design eliminated the need to lift the bowls and reduced manual handling risks. Other advantages include that there were fewer risks of contact with the hot oven and resin spills. Finally this new design allowed for this previously two-person task to be completed by one person, so it had a positive impact on productivity.

A spokesperson for Solvay Derbyshire said: "The team at Solvay Heanor are delighted to have won this award and accept it on behalf of all the people involved with the problem solving process that effectively dealt with a significant ergonomic issue. “We continue to strive to eliminate or reduce the risks associated with manual handling tasks on site."

Head of HSE’s Health and Work Branch and chair of this year’s judging panel Ali Wellens, congratulated the winners on their well deserved award and commented: "The Risk Reduction Through Design Award is intended to highlight the important contribution that design changes can make in reducing risks of musculoskeletal disorders. This year, we were thrilled to receive so many innovative designs from businesses across a wide range of industries. The high volume of entries demonstrates some of the great work businesses are doing to protect their workers’ health. MSDs are a significant risk to workers’ health and we urge all businesses to consider how they could make design changes to eliminate or reduce the risks in their workplaces."