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Safety Systems

We help scope, design, and install pallet wrapping equipment safety systems for New Zealand businesses of all shapes and sizes.
Installing a safety system for your pallet wrapping set-up means safeguarding people without compromising productivity. Doing this successfully requires a number of expertly scoped and carefully coordinated measures.

Universal Packaging work with accredited risk management consultants to design systems which integrate with new and existing wrapping machinery. First, we diligently assess all the risks from both equipment and behavioural perspectives. From there we create a system that will actively protect humans while recognising and mitigating the occasionally chaotic nature of human behaviour.

Overall, there are no ‘one-size-fits all’ safety solutions, as no two distribution centres are ever quite the same. So, we always take an ‘individual-Universal’ approach before making specific recommendations on what type of processes and systems to use.

Our team will work with you to establish the most cost-effective method for installing modifications and, most importantly, ensuring everyone leaves at the end of the day in the same condition they arrived.

Key considerations for installing pallet wrapping safety systems
How does the system protect individuals without increasing individual workloads?
How many fail-safes are required before the system becomes unwieldy or confusing?
How do physical barriers work with the operation of equipment?
How can everyone leave at the end of the day in the same condition they arrived?


We work with accredited risk management consultants and our clients in scoping and designing safety systems to work with new and existing wrapping equipment, ensuring all measures perform and comply to AS/NZ standards for controls, interlocks and guarding.

One of the most important considerations when planning and installing a pallet wrapping safety system is simple but, also, very complex: everyday human behaviour.

A key approach here is ensuring any system doesn’t in any way hinder productivity. If any additional steps are added to an existing set-up, employees may often attempt to find ‘workarounds’ to keep up with targets. It can wind up with new set-up that’s less safe than before.

So, from the start, we don’t just look at the ‘nuts and bolts’ of any new technology. We help clients develop their unique risk assessment and the features that will then help minimize their risks. Our wider perspective of user behaviour and workplace efficiency and safety ensures a well-designed system is correctly scoped and properly installed.

The balance should always tip towards the human side of the equation – both in protecting them and considering the many idiosyncrasies of human behaviour.

That’s why it is possible to have too many fail-safes or safety processes. If this occurs staff will look for their own solutions to avoid them, increasing the likelihood of accidents. It’s also why we scope sites carefully and always defer to the PCBU (Person in Charge of the Business Unit) when recommending safety solutions. Every system must fit for the process and people it is designed for.

Light curtains are an easy, safe way to include entry and exit points around machinery without requiring workers to open and close gates. An emitter and receiver are mounted opposite one another and, when the connection between the two is broken (by a person walking between them), the machinery will automatically shut off. This approach can be combined with physical barriers, with the light curtain used as both a loading zone and an entry point for operators.
With so many moving parts there is always the potential for accidents in distribution centres. Forklifts travelling between people and machinery can cause incidents, as can workers cutting corners or tampering with equipment. Much of this can be avoided by enforcing no-nonsense rules around the operation of machinery, vehicles operating within set pathways only etc. However, there are also often unseen hazards that can affect the long-term health of a workforce as well.

To start with, fencing off equipment reduces the risk of a forklift backing into a machine, causing the need for costly repairs. It also means that only those intending to operate the equipment will be in its vicinity when it is in operation. For the user, there is little change to how the machine operates once inside the barrier, but this extra safety step can help the operator to focus on the job at hand. While safety fencing and light curtains are not yet a requirement by law, many companies are installing them to ensure optimal safety for staff, protection for equipment and ongoing peace of mind.

The official standard is AS/NZS 4024.1601:2014. Safety of machinery – Part 1601: Design of controls, interlocks and guarding – Guards – General requirements for the design and construction of fixed and movable guards

Some might be surprised by the number of accidents and long-term health effects that occur due to incorrect hand-wrapping technique.

First there is the volume of sound created by the wrap, particularly if the pallet wrap is a traditional blown film product. This can be louder than the average lawnmower when unwrapping, making it difficult to hear any approaching forklift. Long-term hearing damage can occur if the right hearing protection is not work while using this type of pallet wrap.

Then there is the strength and general physicality needed to hand wrap pallets. Walking backwards around a pallet while correctly holding the roll can be difficult. Which is why we always recommend workers bend their knees correctly and wrap pallets using forward-walking application with the right equipment.

Any new system will need to be specified by the consultant and signed off by the client. Universal Packaging is not ultimately responsible for the compliance of the finished system, as we work in a collaborative process with the consultant and client and are only responsible as supplier and installer of the equipment/guarding etc.
Education is important. All operators should be up to date with the current safety requirements and on board to follow them closely. Making sure staff know the ‘whys’ behind the rules is key to compliance – as is having regular checks and information sessions with operators.
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Please note: We are a New Zealand-based wholesaler and only distribute within New Zealand.

Safety Systems

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