Solvay Derbyshire Named Winner of Risk Reduction Through Design Award 2022

Solvay Derbyshire has triumphed at this year’s Risk Reduction Through Design Awards for its innovative solution that helps protect workers from developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

The chemical engineering and manufacturing specialists won the prestigious award after overcoming stiff competition from innovators across a wide range of sectors.

The Risk Reduction Through Design Award 2021/22, sponsored by The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (CIEHF), recognises design innovation to reduce the risk of MSDs. MSDs include injuries and conditions that can affect the back, joints and limbs.

Winning company, Solvay Derbyshire, worked with designer Haviland Industrial Ovens to develop an innovative design solution for loading of resin mixing bowls into a warming oven.

Previously, two workers lifted 38kg mixing bowls containing resin up to 48 times per shift. They did this from a trolley at ground level into and out of the warming oven at the front of the resin film coating production line. This activity involved manually handling the resin mixing bowls and was identified by the company as a significant ergonomic risk.

The winning design replaced the high-level oven with a floor-level one. A bespoke trolley with a removable handle was designed, allowing the resin bowls to be wheeled directly into the new oven, eliminating the need to lift the bowls and reducing the manual handling risks. There are also fewer risks of resin spills and contact with the hot oven. The new design only requires one person to carry out the task, increasing productivity.

Head of HSE’s Health and Work Branch and chair of this year’s judging panel Ali Wellens said: “We would like to congratulate Solvay Derbyshire for their efforts to reduce the risks of MSDs in the workplace.

“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.”

Solvay Derbyshire, was proud to receive the Risk Reduction Through Design Award in recognition of their work to reduce MSDs in the workplace.

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.”

The award was presented at the CIEHF’s annual (virtual) awards ceremony on the 17 June 2022.

Commendations were given to two further entries to the awards. Airbus Operations Limited received a commended entry for their design for the assembly of A350 aircraft wing outer trailing edge. British Wool were also commended for their solution for transporting and weighing of ‘wool sheets’.

Iris Mynott, Membership & Partnership Manager of the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors said: “We are delighted to collaborate with HSE on these awards to recognise innovation that can make a significant contribution to life, wellbeing and performance.

“Congratulations to our winner and two commended entries and thank you to everyone who entered.”