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Safety

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

Material Handling Ergonomics: Using the “Golden Zone” for Safer Lifting

Warehouse managers often focus on equipment solutions to ergonomics issues. And while there’s good reason to invest in assistive lifting equipment, there are cheaper and easier ways to get big returns. The number one way? Teach workers to lift in the ergonomic “golden zone.” The Dangers of Poor Lifting Technique The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that in 2015, musculoskeletal disorders, such as sprains and strains caused by heavy lifting, made up 31 percent—356,910 individual cases—of all workplace injuries. The predictable and preventable nature of these injuries makes them an obvious target for managers looking to increase productivity. Reducing the number of musculoskeletal injuries is simple in theory but requires constant attention in practice. Here are some tips for…more

Forklift Battery Handling Equipment for the Coming Year’s Budget

Improved battery room configurations and new equipment can yield big gains in productivity and profitability. As the end of the year draws closer, managers of large forklift fleets consider placing an investment in this type of infrastructure in the coming year’s budget. BHS custom designs its battery handling equipment for safety, efficiency, and lifetime cost savings. A complete system can make battery change-outs, charging, and washing a seamless process that keeps lift trucks running with less downtime.  Even a single piece of well-chosen equipment can make a big difference in a battery room. Carts and carriages are fine for operations that only require one or two battery change-outs per day. A BHS Automatic Transfer Carriage accommodates up to 20 change-outs.…more

Electrician Safety in Cold Outdoor Environments

Electrical contractors can’t simply pack up and wait out the winter weather; eventually, electricians just have to work in the cold. Extreme temperatures create special hazards, especially for electricians, and staying safe in the depths of winter requires special efforts on the part of employers and employees alike. The Occupational Safety and Health Association breaks down their safety rules for working in cold and snow into three categories: plan, equip, and train. Here’s what that means for electricians working outside on a freezing Midwestern or Northern day: Employers should invest in engineering controls to help limit the risk. As you know if you’ve read any of our previous entries on ergonomics, “engineering controls” are the most powerful way to keep…more

Handling and Storing Construction Tools at High-Rise Building Sites

The hazards of working on high-rise construction projects have been well-documented. While self-climbing perimeter protection systems, or “cocoons,” protect workers from falls, there’s another safety risk that cocoons can’t eliminate: injuries involving construction tools. A safety guide from the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health offers a few rules to keep construction tools safe: Cal/OSHA requires employees to keep tools “clean and in good repair.” Staff must be trained and experienced in the use of a tool before using it. All powder-actuated tools must be kept in a lockable container, which must remain locked unless authorized personnel retrieve or replace a piece of equipment. Power-operated tools must be kept away from moisture and wetness. While some of these rules…more

4 Common Ergonomic Hazards in Warehouses

Injuries have a big impact on warehouse productivity and profitability, and every warehouse could stand to address common safety hazards. The good news is that warehouse managers can reduce the chance of an on-the-job injury by identifying the most common injury risks and addressing them with training or ergonomic equipment. Safety committees can help identify major risks for your operation. Creating a safety committee can help gather input from many different points of view. These committees should include staff from various areas, including floor workers, shift supervisors, and department managers. For smaller operations, a safety meeting with all staff could replace the safety committee. However an operation manager has to arrange it, crucial safety information must be shared with staff.…more

Stacking Pallets: OSHA Regulations

Stacking empty pallets saves space and removes tripping and collision hazards from warehouse floors. But if you stack pallets carelessly or overly high, warehouse managers could be creating an even bigger hazard. To figure out the best practices for pallet stacking, let’s take a look at what OSHA and other regulators have to say. OSHA addresses pallet stacking in standard 1917.14, which reads, “Cargo, pallets and other material stored in tiers shall be stacked in such a manner as to provide stability against sliding and collapse.” That sounds reasonable. But the question now becomes, “How do you stabilize a stack of pallets?” Stabilizing Pallet Stacks for Optimal Safety Never mix sizes when stacking pallets. An odd-sized pallet near the bottom…more

Warehousing Pallet Options: What to Know

Material handling continues to evolve as new technologies emerge, but the humble pallet remains a constant fixture in warehouses around the world. That’s not to say that pallets haven’t changed over the years. Due to specific industry needs and the desire to be sustainable, companies have developed a number of new strategies in regards to pallets, which standardized just about everything into easy-to-handle parcels. While Ancient Egyptians used skids as far back as 1,000 B.C., modern paletts came into existence as a result of the gas-powered forklift and Word War II. The U.S. used tens of millions of pallets to supply troops on both fronts. Innovations like the four-way pallet, which allowed forklifts to pick up pallets from any direction,…more

Ergonomics and Pallet Building: Problems and Solutions

Rising worker’s compensation claims and an aging workforce responsible for pallet building tasks are causing warehouse managers to rethink their processes. Add in the fact that industry experts project the use of pallets to increase through 2019, and you can see why it’s necessary to reevaluate the pallet building and unloading process. Even if warehouse managers didn’t care about productivity and preventing injuries to their staff, which is an unlikely proposition, insurance companies are insisting that clients implement ergonomic solutions in warehouses to reduce payouts for injured staff. Worker’s Comp Cases Strain Insurers’ Pocketbooks The issue is complex, but it boils down to this: Material handlers are older and in worse shape than they have been in the past, and…more

Measuring Electrical Conduit Sizes at the Job Site

For electricians, pulling cable is only half the job. Before they can even begin installing the cabling, they have to create vast networks of electrical conduit. Electricians typically run multiple cables through a single raceway, so it’s vital that they know how much space is available inside the duct. That isn’t always apparent at a glance. The trade sizes of rigid metal electrical conduit don’t always correspond exactly to actual inside diameter. Even worse, bundles of conduit can arrive on-site unlabeled, and it isn’t easy to tell the difference between 1.25- and 1.5-inch conduit with the naked eye. For instance, according to online resource the Engineering ToolBox: 5-inch metal conduit actually has an inside diameter of 0.622 inches. The inside…more