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Heathrow airport and Vaculex Solutions

Heathrow Airport airport increased effiency and reduced strain injuries

Background

Heathrow Airport is a major international airport in West London, England, UK. Heathrow is the busiest airport in the United Kingdom, busiest airport in Europe by passenger traffic, and sixth busiest airport in the world by total passenger traffic. A record-breaking 78 million passengers hustled through Heathrow airport in 2017, marking a more than 3 per cent increase on the previous year's figure, thanks to larger and fuller aircraft flying in and out of the international transport hub.

The baggage halls in Heathrow are varied in their physical constraints and required multiple solutions. Vaculex was shown the terminal and its challenges and began work on a solution to maximize user happiness, efficiency and safety. An extensive trial process was undertaken by Heathrow Airport with other Manual Handling Aid solutions to find the right supplier, resulting in Vaculex as the obvious choice.

Solution

Step by step, lifters were installed at Heathrow one terminal at a time. Now, there are around 40 Vaculex lifters installed in five terminals at Heathrow Airport. Vaculex offered three appropriate solutions, modified in accordance with Heathrow Airport’s physical conditions:  

  • Vaculex® BaggageLift - used where the overhead clearance was more than 3.5m
  • Vaculex® BaggageLift Low Headroom - used for areas with restricted and low overhead clearance and
  • Vaculex® BaggageLift Carbon Fibre - used when there was a need for handlers to work around obstructions

Result

Efficient work, significantly reduced strain injuries and an easier workday. These are words that the baggage handlers at Heathrow Terminal 2 use to describe the way Vaculex® vacuum lifting solutions have made their work easier.

Independent studies made by Heathrow Airport show that the Vaculex system was measured to reduce demand on shoulder and back muscles of up to 67% and 88% respectively when comparing with manual handling practices. (Visafe Final report: Comparison study. Vaculex vs 100% Manual loading, Baggage Handlers T2, March 2016.)

Martin Bell – Training Officer, Menzies:“Before Vaculex® we had a lot of problems with heavy lifting here at Heathrow. Thanks to the Vaculex® Solutions the work is much more efficient and my staff doesn’t suffer from back problems anymore. Vaculex® is a fantastic equipment.”

Darren Constant – Baggage Handler Manager, ASIG: ”Baggage is such an important thing for the passenger. And with the Vaculex® solutions we really can improve what we do. For me the most important thing is that my staff comes home fit and safe. Introducing manual handling devices is the way forward.”

Andy Aldridge – Technical Advisor Heathrow Airport: ”Vaculex is very focused on the customers’ needs and pays special attention to the end users' needs. They work to develop the optimal solution and will ensure the correct training packages are delivered with the devices for the operatives and the maintainers.”

Sam Streak – Baggage Handler/team leader, ASIG at Heathrow Airport: “Vaculex is a real benefit for everyone. The solution reduces the strain on the body, is easy to use and works with any bag. The staff enjoys working with Vaculex and for me it is easy to train them when you see the benefits of using it.”

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