Ergonomics done right.®
May 18th, 2015

Warehouse Webinar Q & A

Thank you to those of you who attended last week’s webinar, Fad vs. Fact: Ergonomic Solutions for Warehouses and Distribution Centers. Below are the answers we did not get to during the live event. As always, we welcome your thoughts and experiences in the comments section.

Q: We receive 8-15 pallets per day. Current practice is an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to off-loading the pallets. A pallet load-leveler is perceived as slowing down process. Any thoughts?

A: A true load-leveler (if adjusted to calibrate properly) should not slow the process down. Often times in high-rate situations like this, a height-adjustable scissor lift is installed instead of a load-leveler, which can slow down the unloading process because it requires frequent manual adjustment (usually with a foot pedal). Make sure that you have a true load-leveler in place, and run a solid 2-week pilot. I am sure the employees will get on-board.

Q: Most automatic load lever lift tables must be matched to the weight of the parts on the lift. Are there any recommendations for loads of varied weights, aside from pneumatic or hydraulic systems?

A: The majority of the load-levelers that we recommend are pneumatic or hydraulic, such as ones from Presto Lifts or Southworth. They provide the most versatility and easiest adjustment.

Q: Would you recommend individual stretch programs based on a person’s individual needs?

A: That is a decision made by the employee’s medical care provider. It is not within Humantech’s typical scope of service to advise on such topics, as we focus on reducing the risk of developing an MSD through engineering changes to the workplace.

Q: Can you please send me information about back belts?

A: Back belts are not recognized by OSHA as effective engineering controls to prevent back injury. While they may be accepted by individual workers because they feel as if they provide additional support, the effectiveness of back belts in the prevention of low back injuries has not been proven in the work environment. You should search for the two primary articles by NIOSH and research by Dr. Stu McGill that outline some important research to support this conclusion.

Q: What about dynamic stretching that serves as more of a warm-up?

A: This is a question for someone qualified in the strength and conditioning profession. Our area of expertise is managing ergonomics initiatives to decrease the measurable level of ergonomic risk. However, we did conduct a literature review on 11 articles related to workplace stretching programs – the result of which was our position on the efficacy of corporate-mandated stretch programs.

Q: Our company mandates 2x stretching every day and according to you, it is a fad. How we could influence management that there is no difference of once and not twice stretching regimen?

A: Please review our white paper on the topic.