HOW DOES SOCIAL DISTANCING AFFECT YOUR WORKPLACE?
In the new normal of social distancing, companies continue to look for new ways to get their tasks done with minimal physical interaction. This is certainly true in the area of container unloading where the standard was to have 2-3 people in the container loading pallets.
If you would like to learn more about how to unload a container with only 1 person in the trailer, and at the same time increase productivity and Health & Safety benefits with our ergonomic conveyor unloading system – send an email to [email protected]
WHAT IS THE LEADING CAUSE OF INJURY IN THE WORKPLACE?
Worker injury is at the forefront of many discussions, but where should companies be focusing their attention? What is the leading cause of injury in the workplace?
In 2017, Liberty Mutual Group published their findings in the Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index. Liberty Mutual Group is an international company committed to providing insurance products and services to meet the needs of individuals, families and businesses. Liberty Mutual is just one of the many organizations studying workplace injuries and their findings confirmed the leading cause of injury in the workplace is overexertion. This cause makes up 23% of all workplace injuries and equates to $13.8 billion dollars spent. The other top two leading causes of the most disabling work-related injuries are falls on the same level (17.7%) and falls to a lower level (9.2%). Collectively, these workplace injuries account for approximately $30 billion dollars spent.
Liberty Mutual ranks the top ten workplace injury causes by their direct costs so that companies can be aware of the issues, better protect their employees and potentially improve their bottom line. According to Debbie Michel @ Liberty Mutual, “workplace injuries impact both employees and employers. Injured employees face potential physical, emotional and financial harm. Employers face the direct costs of workplace injuries – medical care related to the accident and some portion of an injured employee’s pay – and the indirect costs, including hiring temporary employees, lost productivity and quality disruptions.”
WHAT IS ONE WAY TO REDUCE THESE TYPES OF INJURIES?
As stated, overexertion ranks as the highest leading cause of injury in the workplace. Inside a distribution centre, workers are repeatedly required to lift, twist, carry and reach overhead boxes weighing 3 lbs and greater. The physically demanding requirements of a dock worker to manually load or unload a trailer or container make this a high contender for overexertion.
Destuff-IT™ and Restuff-IT™ machines are designed to aid workers who load and unload floor-loaded product from trailers and containers. Not only are these innovative devices capable of increasing efficiencies in the can, they can also reduce worker fatigue, muscle strain & injury.
Destuff-IT™ machines help meet the needs of professionals in the supply chain such as health & safety representatives, operations personnel and general management. Many national companies with multi-shift operations and numerous distribution centres have realized the ergonomic benefits of this machine.
Operators can achieve greater throughput with less fatigue and muscle strain because of optimal positioning to the box wall. Workers stand on the operator platform and are able to access controls, drive and steer. With use of hydraulic power, an operator controls the vertical height of the platform in order to safely be positioned to the product being unloaded. While standing on the platform, a worker grasps the rotary handle which allows the pivoting conveyor to be easily guided left and right. This maneuverability allows the operator to position the conveyor near the product. This significantly reduces the risk of injury from repetitive lifting, twisting, carrying and overhead reaching.
Benefits to Using the Destuff-IT™
Case Study: Focusing on Ergonomics
A North American uniform and work apparel company with a culture of embracing improved ergonomics throughout their manufacturing plants and distribution network, was looking for a better way to unload containers & trailers at their main distribution hub.
Their inbound docks received containers & trailers filled with floor-loaded boxed product. A team of 2 workers manually palletized the product inside the can. Once a pallet was complete, it was removed by forklift and transported to the warehouse. To assist workers, the company had purchased powered roller conveyor with an impact table and inclined conveyor to transfer product. This intervention did help, but workers still had to use step stools to reach ceiling height boxes or alternatively, climb on boxes to handle upper box wall cartons. Over the years, the conveyor impact section had taken abuse from boxes being dropped onto it and the section was becoming less reliable.
The company-wide focus on ergonomics was not a reaction to a number of recent incidents, but based on the corporate culture of preventing injuries. Their proactive approach identified the inbound dock area as having a high probability for injury. With this in mind, the company initiated a justification process to purchase equipment as an intervention strategy. The process assessed the number of motions saved over the course of one year, the number of potential injuries and established dollar value as a cost to the company. The assessed cost was calculated to be $1.2 million, leading decision makers to search for an intervention device to reduce the risk of injury for their workers.
At a prominent industry trade show, the company discovered the Destuff-IT™ product line, manufactured by Engineered Lifting Systems & Equipment Inc. (ELS). After discussions with ELS, the company had a Destuff-IT™ product demonstration at their facility. One year later, they purchased a Destuff-IT™ with powered roller conveyor. The system integrated with their inclined conveyor.
While Health & Safety was the driving force behind the purchase of a Destuff-IT™, the company was pleased to realize productivity gains of 20% over their previous method of unloading. With an average of 900 case per truck, their inbound dock was capable of unloading 1.5 to 2 more trucks per day. Additionally, personnel who operated the Destuff-IT™ reported the machine improved their overall work experience. Also, after a full shift, they were not as fatigued or sore which allowed them to enjoy after work activities more.
Case Study: Increasing Health & Safety When Handling Tires
One of the world’s top three tire manufacturers, with global distribution centers for its products, was looking to find a better way to handle tires. At a European location, workers manually unload tires from containers onto pallets for transfer to warehouse storage. Workers also manually loaded tires into trailers, floor loading them to maximize the cube.
Health & safety concerns were pressing the company to find a solution to assist workers with the strenuous task of unloading and loading laced rows of tires. Manual unloading tires required workers to climb up to reach high and then use force to tug them free from a laced position. High cube trailers were the most challenging as tire walls could reach approximately 8 feet high or more. Conversely, the manual loading was even more challenging to build the wall of laced tires. These manual tire handling methods have a very high risk of injury due to the intensity of exertion and physical strain on the worker.
After researching, the company decided to purchase a Restuff-IT™ machine with tire handling options, primarily because of the potential health and safety benefits.
When unloading and loading with a Restuff-IT™, a worker stands on a height adjustable platform which rises 26” from the floor. This optimizes the worker’s position to the tire wall. Moving the pivoting conveyor side to side as well as up and down further optimizes handling to reach the different zones of the tire wall. Using the Restuff-IT™ eliminates over-reaching, stretching, twisting, and throwing of product in contrast to the previous manual unloading and loading method. In addition, a bi-directional machine provides flexibility when the operation requires both unloading and loading capabilities.
An increase in productivity was realized because of the effectiveness of the Restuff-IT™. It minimized muscle strain on workers. The effectiveness has also helped with increasing employee morale.
Engineered Lifting Systems & Equipment Inc. was approached by Dr. Steve Lavender at Ohio State University to conduct a study on the Destuff-IT™. Dr. Steven Lavender, a professor of Integrated Systems Engineering at Ohio State University, endorses the advantages of using the Restuff-IT™ and often refers to this in courses he teaches. He is a member of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES), American Industrial Hygiene Association, Orthopedic Research Society, the International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine, American Society of Biomechanics. He is also a Certified Professional Ergonomist (CPE) by the Board of Certification in Professional Ergonomics (BCPE). His expertise is often sought out by companies when they are investigating solutions and techniques to reduce worker injury and improve productivity.
The study’s primary goal was to objectively compare the biomechanical and kinematic impact between an extendable conveyor system and using an articulating belt conveyor when manually unloading and loading containers & trailers. Because of the scientific nature of this study, Dr. Lavender combined is findings from a controlled setting as well as “real life” practical application. He required that two 2-day on-site demonstrations at distribution centers were necessary in order to train all workers involved and to gather a sufficient amount of data for both sections of his study. One focusing on the benefits of using the Destuff-IT™ machine (unloading), the other using the Restuff-IT™ machine (loading).
To receive a copy of Dr. Lavender’s published findings, please complete the CONTACT US form on our website or, contact your local Destuff-IT™ technical sales representative.
FOR A BETTER WAY TO UNLOAD, CALL 1-800-263-9823