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Warehouse Equipment

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

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

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

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

How Better Warehouse Ergonomics Improves Productivity

In the not-so-distant past, managers viewed warehouse ergonomics as mostly a matter of worker comfort—it was a nice thing to provide, but not a necessity. And while comfort is certainly one element of ergonomics, it is just one of many benefits of safer and more efficient processes. A more essential and frequently overlooked advantage to good ergonomics is improved productivity. Better ergonomics equals less bottlenecking. To those who have studied warehouse operations, there is a definite relationship between poor ergonomics and bottlenecks in processes. Jim Galante, chairman of the Ergonomic Assist Systems and Equipment (EASE) Council, talked to Modern Materials Handling about how removing bottlenecks frequently requires ergonomic solutions. “You almost can’t have one without the other since wasted motion,…more

Warehouse Ergonomics: Order Picking and Pallet Building Safety Tips

October is National Ergonomics Month, and in honor of this yearly reminder to match “the work to the worker,” we’re reviewing two of the most common tasks in the distribution warehouse: order picking and pallet building. Both of these jobs traditionally contribute to the risk of musculoskeletal disorders such as strains, sprains, and pulled muscles. The reasons for this are clear. Without the proper ergonomic training and the right equipment, both jobs require workers to reach, to stretch, to twist and bend and to repeat those actions again and again, hour after hour. Freight, stock, and material movers were among the top three occupations that had the highest number of injuries involving days away from work in 2015, reports the…more

Year-End Budget Planning: Invest in Electrical Equipment

As the year draws to a close, growing companies may find that they still have the budget for a capital investment or two. The end of the year is a great time to invest in new equipment to make the coming year more productive. Any operation that depends on electrical work, whether that’s in the construction industry, the electrical supply business, or for-hire electrical contracting, has a unique end-of-year opportunity to build an “electrical equipment wish list.” You might already have the tools you need to work to get by, but who couldn’t use a productivity boost? Here are a few pieces of electrical equipment that can make the job much easier for contractors as well as supply houses: Conduit…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