QC Software’s 10 Tips for Implementing Ergonomics in the Warehouse

Written by on April 12, 2012 in warehousing with 0 Comments

Tips for Implementing Ergonomics in the WarehouseApplying ergonomics in the warehouse reduces injuries, improves productivity and lowers insurance costs. Focus on training, elimination of hazards, reducing travel time, configurable workstation, mechanical devices to lift and move containers, reusable plastic containers, slotting and labor management software, comfortable surroundings, etc.

Anyone who has worked in a warehouse or distribution facility understands the challenges of this environment. This includes heavy lifting, repetitive motion, constant movement of machines, material and personnel, and working with hazardous materials.

“Minimizing stress and providing a safer work environment makes good economic sense. By implementing ergonomic solutions, you reduce the number of injuries, improve productivity, and lower insurance costs,” states Rich Hite, President of QC Software, a leading provider of warehouse control systems for the material handling industry.

Key ways to reduce the risk of injury and stress in the warehouse:

1) Training
. Ergonomic training focuses on using the appropriate amount of effort for a given task, allowing workers to minimize stress-related injuries. Workers should thoroughly understand how to operate equipment to reduce the risk of accidents.

2) Eliminate hazards. Hazardous materials should be properly stored and transferred throughout the facility. Liquid spills need to be cleaned up as soon as possible. Properly maintain equipment and promptly fix damaged equipment to avoid injuries. Potential safety issues must be resolved in a timely manner.

3) Reduce traveling time. Optimize procedures and physical layout to minimize walking, make equipment and materials more accessible, and improve safety and efficiency.

4) Environment. Consider using noise dampening technology to keep the sound at an acceptable level. Appropriate lighting will improve safety and productivity. Use fans, sensors, thermal dock doors, and other technologies to maintain a comfortable temperature inside the facility.

5) Workstation. The workstation should be easily adjustable to accommodate each worker’s height and reach. When using monitors, change to simple screen layouts that are easier to read and touch screens to reduce eye strain. Pick-to-Light and Pick-to-Voice technologies eliminate the strain related to reading paper work orders all day. Cushioned mats are essential when standing for long periods.

6) Pallet and container handling. Mechanical devices reduce handling time and the stress related to lifting, reaching and stretch wrapping. Spring-activated lift tables place the pallet at the appropriate height for loading and unloading. Tilters position the container for easy access to the contents.

7) Packaging. Containers that deliver inventory to packers are being redesigned. Placing weight limits on containers will reduce stress due to lifting and provide easy access to the product. Changing from wooden pallets and corrugated boxes to reusable plastic containers eliminate injuries from nails, loose boards, and box knives.

8 ) Assist devices for moving containers. Vacuum lift devices use a vacuum of air to grip and lift boxes. Computer-controlled assist devices use sophisticated sensors and can make automatic adjustments for fast and precise container placement.

9) Software. Slotting applications determine the best product location based on carton size, product characteristics, velocity and other factors. Labor management applications are used to develop work standards for specific tasks and monitor output.

10) Track the results. Keep a record of all worker compensation cases, sick days and productivity, and use employee surveys to understand ergonomic issues.


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