Material Handling Experts


Information on the products and techniques to better store, handle, and move products in your facility.

Guard Rail: When, Where and What

August 15, 2014

Forklift stopped by guardrail

Choosing guard rail can be confusing unless you understand clearly what kinds of conditions you are protecting against and what assets you are protecting. Whether it be fall protection for workers or asset protection from industrial vehicle usage, there is a guard rail that fits that need.

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Ergonomics, Heavy Lifting and Material Handling

August 1, 2014

Men Lifting Heavy Load

The historical issue of ergonomics and heavy lifting

Heavy lifting and the associated pain and injury that frequently happens has been around for a long time. Centuries ago, the pulley was invented to reduce the work required to move a load, leading to the block and tackle that exponentially reduced the labor in lifting an object.
Simply Pulley
Block and Tackle

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A Mirror’s a Mirror and a Sensor’s a Sensor, Right?

June 27, 2014
safety mirror group
sensor group
sensor mirror group

Every facility has its own  devices, equipment, and programs to promote safety. There are signs, strobes, beeps, mirrors, bright colors, vests, id tags, and more. When it comes to seeing a hazard approaching, or being able to see what’s around the corner, it can be hard to determine which technology works best. That’s why I decided to take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of two widely used technologies and one fairly new one. Let’s see what can be gained with each, it’s best application, and what you might miss.

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A Guide To Pallet Rack Load Types

July 27, 2013

loaded pallet rack

Is this an unevenly distributed load? Concentrated load?
Line load? Point load? Load of something really heavy?

We have stressed this before: rack loads aren’t just simple weight vs. structure. The dimensions, shape, and size/density of the load as it sits on storage racks is absolutely critical to safe, effective warehouse storage. Our friends at Nashville Wire recently released an excellent piece that helps define the load types and how you can avoid incorrect or unsafe rack loading.

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Ways to Enhance Training to Protect Pedestrians from Forklifts

October 23, 2012

manager in a warehouse forklift area between rack aisles

According to OSHA, training is the key to forklift safety, and there is fundamental agreement on that. Training can and does make a serious dent in the high injury rates suffered due to industrial traffic. Training must happen, and it must be repeated. But that begs this question: Why has training failed to move the needle when it comes to serious forklift related injuries? The numbers seem to have stabilized at an average of 100 deaths per year, and have stayed consistently at that level for years.

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OSHA, Whistleblowers, and Safety Bonuses

April 9, 2012

carrying cartons in a warehouse, wearing safety vest

OSHA has recently released a guide to safety incentives, disincentives, and reporting issues. It’s worth a quick read if you manage a manufacturing, warehousing, or industrial facility.

This document focuses on reporting/non-reporting workplace injury issues. OSHA says that “Reporting a work-related injury or illness is a core employee right, and retaliating against a worker for reporting an injury or illness is illegal discrimination under section 11(c).”  Of course, smart companies want to know if there are unsafe conditions or practices. But what if your safety rewards program is discouraging employees from reporting incidents, or even near-misses?

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Posted in Docks & Shipping, Manufacturing, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Safety & Ergonomics| No Comments »

Visitors to your operation: how to make them safer

February 29, 2012

Are your warehouse visitors paying attention?

Safety is always a concern for industrial operations, but visitors take the dangers to another level.

In a fast-paced distribution center, there is plenty of forklift traffic, moving conveyors, packing machines, carousels, and dock doors. Same with manufacturing; you have all kinds of production machinery, welding (human and robotic), and heavy material being handled, stacked, or processed, along with the forklifts and other handling equipment. It’s hard enough to keep your own people – the ones who should know the lay of the land – safe in these environments. But what about visitors who haven’t had the benefit of your safety training and the situational awareness that your employees develop over time?

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Posted in Conveyor, Cross Docking, Manufacturing, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Safety & Ergonomics, Warehousing| No Comments »

Hand Carts vs. Pallets for Retail Distribution

September 19, 2011

Pallet and order picking carts for retail distribution
Retail distribution facilities have multiple options for shipping product to store locations. They can send full pallets which must be unwrapped, unloaded, and stocked at the store location. They can send packed carts that can easily be rolled onto store floors and stocked at the point of sale. What method works best?
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11% of Forklifts are Involved in Accidents Annually. What Can You Do?

January 14, 2011

hurtling forklift

There isn’t much other way to say it: If you have a forklift, it is almost surely the most dangerous piece of equipment under your roof. If you have many forklifts, that danger us multiplied.

How dangerous? According to OSHA estimates, there are 61,800 minor injuries, 34,900 serious injuries and 85 forklift related deaths in the United States every year. Since there are almost 900,000 forklifts operating at any given point in the United States, this is something that every operation needs to consider when your forklifts start moving on a busy day. 11% of them stand a good chance of being in an accident or collision every single year. Those aren’t great odds, considering that a forklift in a given warehouse is heavy, moving, and in a noisy and often visually crowded environment.

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The Top Ten OSHA Violations for 2009 – and How to Avoid Some of Them

November 1, 2010

The National Safety Council has released its list of the top 10 OSHA safety violations for 2009, and there is plenty to chew on if you are running a warehouse, manufacturing facility, military installation, or distribution center. In fact, several of these categories drop directly into the laps of material handling operations. Worse news: violations are up over 30 percent.

The list is as follows:

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Posted in Manufacturing, Material Handling, Mezzanines, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Safety & Ergonomics, Security, Warehousing| No Comments »