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Safety Requirements for the Forklift Battery Room: Back to Basics

There are two very important reasons to maintain a safe battery room — to protect employees and to comply with federal and local regulations. Heavy-duty, ergonomic battery-changing equipment with abundant safety features helps every operation using electric forklifts to accomplish both these goals at the same time. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) gives both general and specific guidance to battery room operators. The General Duty Clause of the OSH Act is the umbrella law that requires employers to “furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.” That description is crucial but vague, so let’s look…more

OSHA Guidelines for Forklift Traffic on Dock Ramps and Yard Ramps

Loading ramps can be perilous places for forklift operation. So it’s no surprise that the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has quite a bit to say on the topic. Much of their advice is common sense, but it never hurts to have a refresher and a checklist of requirements for investing in dock ramps. Some of the more general requirements address ensuring a slow, controlled ascent or descent on the ramp. Here are a few specific requirements: 29 CFR 1926.451(e)(5)(ii) – “No ramp or walkway shall be inclined more than a slope of one vertical to three horizontal (20 degrees above the horizontal).” 29 CFR 1910.178(n)(7) – “Grades shall be ascended or descended slowly.” 29 CFR 1910.178(m)(6) – “A…more

Customize Shipping Room Desks to Optimize Shipping/Receiving Tasks

Workstations make a difference, and standard, off-the-shelf shipping room desks could be cutting into your productivity in more ways than one. People think of ergonomic improvements in the workplace as benefitting the employees. While that’s undeniably true, that doesn’t mean that employers don’t benefit as well—and we’re not just talking about reductions in sick days and injuries. By eliminating the need for inefficient and often repetitive movements, ergonomic improvements can increase worker productivity. So, if ergonomics is a magic bullet that keeps staff healthy and increases productivity, why don’t all warehouses embrace it? The answer is that improving ergonomics is not a magic bullet at all, but an ongoing process to identify and eliminate unsafe and inefficient practices. That can…more

Disposing of Wastewater Created by Washing Forklift Batteries

Maintaining a well-functioning lift-truck fleet requires washing batteries, and that process creates wastewater. The EPA classifies this dirty water as hazardous waste, and as such, it requires careful attention. Businesses in many other industries, such as metalworking and metal fabrication, die casting, truck wash centers, and more fall into the same boat. When operations create wastewater, they have three basic options. Pay a third-party provider to clean and dispose water. Invest in an on-site wastewater cleaner. Illegally dump wastewater into the sewer. The ethical and legal implications of the third choice make it a non-starter. Pollutants in battery wastewater include lead, copper, and other heavy metals that can contaminate drinking water and create a health risk for local residents. Other…more

Forklift Battery Maintenance During Peak Season

The holiday season is in full swing, and that means warehouses are working overtime to fulfill orders. While permanent staff and temporary workers put in extra hours, don’t forget that your equipment is working hard, too. To get the most out of it, a little preventive maintenance can go a long way. Washing Batteries Improves Forklift Performance It’s a bit of a conundrum. Optimal battery life and performance require taking batteries out of circulation to wash them occasionally. But during the peak order-filling season, managers need their lift trucks at full capacity, with every battery available. Luckily, the choice isn’t as hard as it sounds. Putting off battery washing can have many bad repercussions including: shortening the life of the…more

Prepare Seasonal Warehouse Workers for Success

Seasonal warehouse workers give distribution centers the extra capacity that they need to take on the busy holiday season — and it’s only getting busier. Last year, online sales between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31 reached a total of $91.7 billion, more than 10 percent higher than the previous year. Search marketing firm NetElixer projects an increase of another 10 percent for this year’s online holiday sales. It’s safe to assume that warehouses and distribution centers are flooding their floors with temporary employees as we speak. So how can employers ramp up seasonal workers in time to keep productivity high, but before the season ends for another few months of more relaxed throughput? There are three categories to consider when…more

How Warehouse Ergonomics Can Help You Cope with Labor Shortages

The logistics and warehousing industries are facing substantial labor shortages. A 2015 study presented at the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) conference showed issues with labor availability throughout the sectors; however, the CSCMP’s 2018 survey noted that the vast majority of 3PL professionals agreed upon an increased need “to respond to customers more quickly and with complete, accurate, and consistent information.” In other words: Labor shortages will occur, but they can’t slow down your operation. In the warehouse, even a temporary labor shortage can have drastic effects, and while they’re a standard part of doing business, successful managers should know how to work through them. Of course, that’s easier said than done. According to the Third-Party Logistics Study,…more

Earthquake Preparedness in the Warehousing Industry

Because of their unpredictable nature and powerful tremors, earthquakes pose a unique threat to the warehousing industry. These two qualities make it difficult to evacuate a warehouse without risking injury from toppling racks or falling merchandise. Earthquakes will always pose a danger to people inside buildings. But there are still relatively inexpensive steps warehouse managers can take to reduce injury risks and property damage. Prepare employees and secure items before a quake hits. Educating staff with earthquake training is a great first step toward reducing or eliminating casualties and injuries. By knowing the safest procedures, staff will be calmer and make better choices in the event of an earthquake. All staff should learn the rule, “Drop, cover, and hold on.”…more

Why A-Frame Gantries Are Best for Vertical Forklift Battery Extraction

A-frame Gantry Cranes are the safest and most efficient way to vertically remove forklift batteries from trucks. While it’s certainly possible to remove a battery from a forklift with a second lift truck, or even to use a modified hydraulic engine hoist to replace a forklift battery, only Gantries designed specifically for the unique working traits of forklift batteries can safely and efficiently complete forklift battery changes, shift after shift. That’s because a forklift battery room with an integrated Gantry Crane and Hardwood Battery Stations creates benefits that other technologies lack. These advantages include: A defined travel path. The great thing about forklifts is that they can go anywhere. When you’re lifting a 2,000-pound forklift battery, though, that advantage quickly…more

Customize Order Picking Carts for Unique Applications

Order Picking Carts (OPC) from BHS provide simple material handling for order picking and other industrial tasks. However, sometimes clients need special modifications of these heavy-duty steel carts in order to meet a unique workplace challenge. That’s why BHS offers full customization for OPCs. Engineers at BHS design carts from the ground up to fit into highly specific applications at the customer’s request. Unlike many providers of warehouse equipment, BHS strives to accommodate clients who need custom equipment. The manufacturing team at BHS constructs products to order at their 138,000 square-foot campus in St. Louis, Missouri. This gives them the freedom to customize products, including the Order Picking Cart, down to the invention of entirely new types of material handling…more