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Use of helicopter to reduce manual handling of stones

Boulders were used to build and repair paths on a large country estate. Often this work was on hillsides and the stones had to be moved by hand. Team handling of loads that were very heavy, irregularly shaped and often slippery posed risks of injury and disorders to the back, shoulders and knees. The steep, rough nature of the work sites made it difficult to use wheeled transport or lifting aids to reduce the manual handling.

Use of a helicopter was suggested to tackle the manual handling risks in moving stone. Unusual or seemingly costly solutions like this are often rejected out of hand, but in this instance and after further investigations and analysis it was decided that this was an acceptable solution.

Twice a year a helicopter was hired that could carry large quantities of stone in sacks.   Staff were trained on safe procedures for loading and unloading.

As well as reducing the risks of musculoskeletal disorders the solution to use of the helicopter proved to be cost effective.

Updated 2014-04-15