HSE Advocates Use Of Motorised Tugs

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As a recent article from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) champions the use of motorised tugs for hospital porters. MD Andy Owen points out that this is in line with MasterMover’s own lean way of thinking.

“It was pleasing to read the recent article which advocated the use of pedestrian tug equipment by porters in hospitals. A case was referenced where porters improved efficiency, safety and cost by utilising a tug to move laundry supply trolleys.

This is encouraging to hear as the example reflects our view that tugs can bring advantages learned from the factory floor to alternative working environments.

All organisations are under pressure to be more efficient, safer and of course profitable. It therefore makes sense to take principles of lean manufacturing and apply them to other organisations in need of streamlining. Proven solutions can meet relevant needs elsewhere– be it an airport, supermarket or a hospital.

So we’re delighted that hospital management trusts are beginning to meet their streamlining targets by using motorised tugs helping them to reduce costs, speed up procedures and minimise staff risk.

It’s simple to see the sense of the strategy, there are many cross-overs between the logistical needs of a hospital and that of a large production facility. The need to manoeuvre heavy loads from one side of an operation to another, the requirement to improve safety, reduce physical impact, speed up processes, reduce trip frequency and even increase load quantities.

When put in these terms, it’s easy to see how an electric tug can be a critical piece of kit. It has the capability to make all the difference to a hospital porter’s role. Without manual handling assistance a porter can move one roll cage or clinical waste bin at a time. By using an electric tug multiple cages or bins can be moved at once in a safe, controlled manner that offers an unrestricted view, speeds up deliveries and frees up portering resources.

Bringing practical machinery concepts in from the factory floor demonstrates lean manufacturing thinking within non-manufacturing environments. However, in the past the importance of providing electric tug equipment to assist hospital porters has been passed over.

For hospital management teams feeling the pressure of cost-cutting policies, the portering division is clearly an area with much scope for streamlining and improvement. By transporting patients and supplies porters become the manoeuvring function within a hospital making their role ideal for industry inspired improvement.

This is why it’s brilliant to hear the supportive tone taken in the HSE article and its acknowledgment of the multiple benefits to porters and their health, not to mention hospital logistics and balanced books.

The report backs up the thinking that’s already taking place in other hospitals around the country. We’ve supplied tugs to over 130 hospitals across the UK for use by porters to transport everything from roll cages containing medical notes through to laundry and waste. But more than this, we also design and manufacture BedMovers specifically designed to ease the process of patient transportation.

Each piece of equipment supplied is ideally suited to the hospital environment and ideal for helping porters stay in full control of the load, while retaining flexible handling for navigation of tight corners, sharp turns, uneven surfaces or slopes.

In short, the machines streamline processes helping porters to do their jobs more efficiently making savings, which is surely the common goal.

It was certainly a goal achieved by Glasgow Royal Infirmary, a trust which has boosted its portering effectiveness with MasterMover equipment. Productivity has increased by at least 20% since integrating the machines making it just one of the organisations outside of the traditional manufacturing field that has implemented lean processes to improve operations, and as such, has seen the advantages of using electric tugs.

And it’s that attitude which summarises the conclusion drawn by the HSE that motorised tugs can be suitable for use within many different types of workplace, to not only respond to risk assessment needs, but also offer additional benefits.

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Motorised Tugs - MasterMover
Published : 30/06/2014
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