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Forklift Work Platforms for Safely Performing Overhead Tasks

Without Forklift Work Platforms, performing overhead tasks in warehouses is dangerous business. A cursory glance at a Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) fact sheet is enough to make a warehouse manager wonder, “What can I do to protect my workers?” That’s where heavy-duty safety equipment like Forklift Work Platforms come in. These dedicated personnel-lifting devices can make overhead tasks, like taking inventory, shifting products on high warehouse shelves, or even changing light bulbs safer and quicker than ever before. A macro- and micro-level look at the situation shows the danger that workers encounter when confronted with overhead tasks. Let’s take a look at the big picture first. The BLS reports that slips, trips, and falls are the second-most common cause…more

Park & Charge Technology for Electric Forklifts: Required Support Equipment

There is a lively debate between proponents of conventional forklift battery charging and those of fast charging, or park & charge, technology. As with any competing technology, there’s no easy answer about which system is superior. Different fleets have different needs, and that means either type of technology could be a better fit. That said, here are some of the advantages that some users derive from park & charge systems, along with some of the extra gear operators will need to keep these systems more efficient and durable. One of the most attractive benefits of park & charge technology is its simplicity. Fast charging systems rely on charging forklift batteries during periods of downtime, such as lunch hours or other…more

Choosing Between Mobile Battery Extractors, Automatic Transfer Carriages, Walkie Transfer Carriages, and Battery Transfer Carriages

Electric forklifts with side-access battery compartments offer the possibility for quick, safe change-outs with every shift — but you can only take advantage of this system with the right battery handling equipment. Choosing the ideal machine to safely extract and replace forklift batteries depends on the needs of your specific application, but how do you pick between similar types of battery extractors? For instance, if you’re looking for a single battery changing device for a smaller fleet — or a battery carriage that can function as a backup or portable battery handling in a large facility that already uses a dedicated Operator Aboard Battery Extractor System — take a look at four classes of BHS equipment in particular: the Automatic…more

Safety Requirements for the Forklift Battery Room: Back to Basics

There are two very important reasons to maintain a safe battery room — to protect employees and to comply with federal and local regulations. Heavy-duty, ergonomic battery-changing equipment with abundant safety features helps every operation using electric forklifts to accomplish both these goals at the same time. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) gives both general and specific guidance to battery room operators. The General Duty Clause of the OSH Act is the umbrella law that requires employers to “furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.” That description is crucial but vague, so let’s look…more

Disposing of Wastewater Created by Washing Forklift Batteries

Maintaining a well-functioning lift-truck fleet requires washing batteries, and that process creates wastewater. The EPA classifies this dirty water as hazardous waste, and as such, it requires careful attention. Businesses in many other industries, such as metalworking and metal fabrication, die casting, truck wash centers, and more fall into the same boat. When operations create wastewater, they have three basic options. Pay a third-party provider to clean and dispose water. Invest in an on-site wastewater cleaner. Illegally dump wastewater into the sewer. The ethical and legal implications of the third choice make it a non-starter. Pollutants in battery wastewater include lead, copper, and other heavy metals that can contaminate drinking water and create a health risk for local residents. Other…more

OSHA Guidelines for Forklift Traffic on Dock Ramps and Yard Ramps

Loading ramps can be perilous places for forklift operation. So it’s no surprise that the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has quite a bit to say on the topic. Much of their advice is common sense, but it never hurts to have a refresher and a checklist of requirements for investing in dock ramps. Some of the more general requirements address ensuring a slow, controlled ascent or descent on the ramp. Here are a few specific requirements: 29 CFR 1926.451(e)(5)(ii) – “No ramp or walkway shall be inclined more than a slope of one vertical to three horizontal (20 degrees above the horizontal).” 29 CFR 1910.178(n)(7) – “Grades shall be ascended or descended slowly.” 29 CFR 1910.178(m)(6) – “A…more

Customize Shipping Room Desks to Optimize Shipping/Receiving Tasks

Workstations make a difference, and standard, off-the-shelf shipping room desks could be cutting into your productivity in more ways than one. People think of ergonomic improvements in the workplace as benefitting the employees. While that’s undeniably true, that doesn’t mean that employers don’t benefit as well—and we’re not just talking about reductions in sick days and injuries. By eliminating the need for inefficient and often repetitive movements, ergonomic improvements can increase worker productivity. So, if ergonomics is a magic bullet that keeps staff healthy and increases productivity, why don’t all warehouses embrace it? The answer is that improving ergonomics is not a magic bullet at all, but an ongoing process to identify and eliminate unsafe and inefficient practices. That can…more

Forklift Battery Maintenance During Peak Season

The holiday season is in full swing, and that means warehouses are working overtime to fulfill orders. While permanent staff and temporary workers put in extra hours, don’t forget that your equipment is working hard, too. To get the most out of it, a little preventive maintenance can go a long way. Washing Batteries Improves Forklift Performance It’s a bit of a conundrum. Optimal battery life and performance require taking batteries out of circulation to wash them occasionally. But during the peak order-filling season, managers need their lift trucks at full capacity, with every battery available. Luckily, the choice isn’t as hard as it sounds. Putting off battery washing can have many bad repercussions including: shortening the life of the…more

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

How Warehouse Ergonomics Can Help You Cope with Labor Shortages

The logistics and warehousing industries are facing substantial labor shortages. A 2015 study presented at the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) conference showed issues with labor availability throughout the sectors; however, the CSCMP’s 2018 survey noted that the vast majority of 3PL professionals agreed upon an increased need “to respond to customers more quickly and with complete, accurate, and consistent information.” In other words: Labor shortages will occur, but they can’t slow down your operation. In the warehouse, even a temporary labor shortage can have drastic effects, and while they’re a standard part of doing business, successful managers should know how to work through them. Of course, that’s easier said than done. According to the Third-Party Logistics Study,…more