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Manual handling reduced

North Bristol NHS Trust has combined a bespoke Taylor bin with Swisslog’s Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) to increase efficiency, save money and minimise health and safety risks.

As part of the redevelopment of Southmead Hospital, AGVs were introduced to transport waste, linen, food, consumables, pharmaceuticals and instrumentation. The technology reduces the manual handling elements of moving such items and frees up portering time to deliver patient services.

The hospital approached Taylor with the brief to create a solution that used 800-litre bins, would sit atop Swisslog’s TransCar and be flush with the vehicles’ edges. It also wanted the segregation of three waste streams at once within the 49 disposal holds in the new hospital’s Brunel building.

Taylor created a bespoke version of its Duo Bin (below), a splitlid container that rests on a dividing plate to enable the collection of two waste streams within one footprint, and a smaller version of its standard container.

The hospital now has 12 AGVs responsible for transporting 158 Taylor bins in the hospital. The AGV positions itself under the bin, before lifting it into place and transporting it to disposal holds at pre-programmed destinations.

Esther Coffin-Smith, sustainable development manager at North Bristol NHS Trust, said: “The results have been fantastic. Before the AGVs were available, there was a significant amount of manual handling, both when moving bins from the collection points and sorting waste at the point of disposal.

“Now, two receptacles handle three waste streams, and waste no longer needs to be touched once it has been placed into a bin.

“To improve segregation we have also introduced magnetic pictorial bin labels, which enable hospital staff to easily identify which waste streams goes where. Without metal bins we could never have adopted such an easy and effective labelling system.

“We have also worked with Taylor and our compactor provider Dicom to ensure that the bins are fully compatible with our waste management equipment.”

The labelling system is based on three colour-coded magnetic A4 posters: black for landfill waste, blue for recyclables and yellow for offensive waste. Once the containers have been emptied, a magnetic poster is placed on to the front, alerting staff throughout the building to the waste type currently being collected.  

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