We see a lot of loading and unloading terminals, but one thing that impresses us is when leadership engenders a workplace safety culture. True, every company has output requirements to maintain, as well as, EHS and OSHA compliance requirements. However, in our experience, those leaders who place an emphasis on workplace safety are also top performers in OEE and other performance metrics.
Many managers are taking workplace safety a step further and incorporating ergonomics into their safety programs. It's a growing concern among EHS professionals because of an aging workforce. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, one in three workers is over the age of 50, and the concern is that the older the worker, the greater the risk of injury.
Regardless of age, ergonomics considerations can significantly reduce the risk of strain and sprain injuries. These injuries are often caused by overexertion. We’ve seen cases where it’s not the aging worker, but aging equipment that causes workers to require more physical energy to operate.
How can you improve industrial and manufacturing ergonomics?
Take a look at your loading equipment and consider ergonomic improvements. Can you adjust the equipment to help it operate with less effort; for example, replacing or lubricating weathered industrial parts that no longer operate with ease?
Consider the age of the equipment and conduct a cost analysis to see if the productivity improvements of replacing the equipment outweigh the costs. Keep in mind that part of the cost includes any downtime. Often we find that aging equipment malfunctions and leads to downtime. For most busy terminals, the costs of downtime are significant and far outweigh replacement costs.
Should you decide to replace equipment, factor in delivery and installation to make sure you minimize any potential downtime or supply disruption. For some terminal operators there's a brief lull during certain seasons when they conduct planned maintenance. If you’re unable to leverage shutdown periods, then consider a supplier who can delivery quickly and whose installation is easy and the process efficient.
Learn more about ergonomic solutions for loading terminals. Contact SafeRack today!