Grocery stores provide a vital service to the American public and are a major source of employment in the United States. In recent years, the efforts of grocery store owners, managers and employees to increase safety has resulted in fewer occupational injuries and illnesses. Even with these valiant efforts, thousands of grocery store workers are still injured on the job each year.
Some grocery store work can be physically demanding. Many workers handle thousands of items each day to stock shelves and these tasks involve several ergonomic risk factors. Bending, lifting and twisting are all part of a day’s work for many grocery employees and these manual jobs place additional stress on their shoulders, backs, knees, wrists and necks.
First published in 2004, OSHA’s Ergonomics for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders: Guidelines for Retail Grocery Stores, provides practical recommendations to help grocery store employers and employees reduce the number and severity of injuries in the workplace. Many work-related injuries experienced by grocery store workers are musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), such as back injuries and strains that can develop from bending, lifting and overexertion.
The Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that grocery stockroom and central processing areas should be equipped with turntables to reduce the occurrence of these types of injuries. To develop these recommendations, OSHA reviewed existing ergonomic practices and programs in the grocery store industry and conducted site visits to observe existing programs in action. They established that maintaining turntables in stock areas would allow employees to move products to stock shelves more easily and require less force to move by bringing the work to the employee.
Kelley HULK® Turntable Lifts increase productivity and employee safety by effectively automating a variety of simple tasks to bring work to the worker and reduce the amount of unnecessary bending and twisting they experience each day. HULK Turntables help grocery employees easily lift and turn materials, saving their backs and joints from the repeated wear and tear that can easily cause injuries.
Don’t turn your back on grocery warehouse safety. HULK Turntables allow workers to rotate their work to them, rather than walking around it to transfer products from storage locations to rail carts. When used with scissor lift tables, they reduce reaching, bending, twisting and walking associated with palletizing operations, easily enhancing both ergonomic and labor-saving benefits.
Kelley offers manual or powered models to efficiently palletize, build-up and break-down product loads, and either can be mounted on a scissors lift, stable bench or other surface of any stockroom. They are compact and require little space to operate, saving more room for storage. They reduce the stress put on employees’ backs and other joints when the repetitive tasks associated with stocking shelves are performed every day for multiple hours at a time.
Since there will likely always be some human element working to manually stock America’s shelves, companies must seek alternative, ergonomic solutions to the injuries sustained by grocery warehouse workers. Kelley HULK turntable lifts provide a safe lifting solution for virtually any grocery handling application to help reduce worker fatigue and injuries.
Learn more about these work force enhancing solutions, visit kelleycompany.com.
In a manufacturing, distribution or warehouse facility there are few places more dangerous to pedestrians than the loading dock area. These dangers can include forklifts racing in and out of truck trailers, open doors that lead to drops to the driveway below and even stacked pallet loads can be hazardous to foot traffic. Perhaps the worst among these threats are slick dock floors.
Statistics point to the loading dock as being a danger zone, where it is estimated 25% of accidents leading to injuries occur. And the costs of these types of injuries can quickly add up. In 2007, the Liberty Mutual Safety Index revealed that these kinds of incidents cost the material handling industry $6.6 billion annually.
The problem is that there can be up to hundreds of doorways along the typical loading dock, each typically 8’ x 10’ holes in the wall. These doors can permit moisture to enter the area to mix with dirt, debris and oil creating a dangerously slick surface.
Dock doors - ensuring a closed case. Doors are often the first to suffer damage from the fast-moving forklifts in the confined dock spaces loading and unloading trailers. Collisions can damage doors outright, or the can at least compromise their ability to seal the doorway. The resulting misalignment creates gaps that enable the invasion of moisture into the facility.
Standard dock doors with garage-style roller guides and light-gauge metal tracks cannot stand up to the impacts suffered on the dock. In some situations, replacing lower panels, where most damage occurs with “flex panels” ensures the doorway is covered. Often times however, management finds damage occurring at all points of the door and decides it is best to install a fully impactable door.
TKO® Dock Doors are designed and built to stand up to both the occasional bump and the most severe impacts from forklifts, product loads and even trailers. Rather than becoming damaged from the force of a major impact, the door panels simply release from their track and can easily be set back in place.
TKO doors feature rolling, retractable plungers riding along V-groove tracks ensure to the door will operate easily. Some door models include the patented Impact-A-Track™ made of high-impact plastic. These doors offer superior durability over standard doors, but can also prevent the transmission of heat from the outside, preventing chilled interior air from condensing and dripping on the floor.
Closing the avenues for moisture. Standard pit-mounted dock levelers provide efficient trailer access for forklifts, but the pit cut into the concrete dock floor allows small gaps that act as a passageway for moisture. Even a tightly closed and sealed door can’t prevent moisture from infiltrating through the gaps.
A solution to for both new and existing pit-style dock levelers is to outfit them with an advanced ENERGY GUARD™ perimeter weatherseal system—a combination of durable open-cell foam and heavy-duty vinyl. This system effectively fills the gaps around the sides and rear of the dock leveler and provides a superior perimeter seal.
As an alternative to pit-style dock levelers, Kelley® Vertical Storing Dock Levelers and LoadHog® Modular Dock Bridges store upright when not in use. Their design allows the dock door to close tightly against the concrete floor, sealing in energy and locking out the elements.
Door seals make sure a parked trailer doesn’t bring in more than product. Docks depend on seals and shelters to close off the gap between the dock wall and the trailer to prevent the invasion of outdoor moisture, dirt and other debris.
Kelley dock seals have fabric-covered foam pads that compress when the trailer backs into them, providing a tight seal around the sides of the trailer and closing the gaps between the trailer’s door hinges. Kelley dock shelters create a canopy around the perimeter of the trailer, allowing full, unimpeded access to the trailer interior.
The addition of a Kelley AquaShield® Rain Sealing System to a shelter will provide even more protection against water infiltration at the dock. This patented sealing system keeps external moisture out of the loading dock area with a "wiper" pad that engages the vehicle at the door moving moisture away from the door opening.
Get a grip on the truck. Many docks use rubber wheel chocks in an attempt to hold trailers in place during loading and unloading, but these chocks are no match for the forces exerted by forklifts driving in and out of trailers. This force can gradually cause a trailer to creep away from the dock, forming a doorway gap. A Kelley STAR® powered vehicle restraint ensures that the trailer is held snugly to the dock with the back end of the trailer fully enveloped by the dock seal or shelter.
Move air/remove moisture. Growing numbers of facilities are installing Kelley Fusion ™ high volume low speed (HVLS) large fans to reduce their energy costs. These fans move large volumes of air at low speeds over very great areas, dissipating moisture and creating drier dock floors. The fan blades produce a massive column of air that flows down to the floor and outward in all directions, creating a deep “horizontal floor jet” that ultimately circulates air up vertically and gets drawn back through the top of the fan.
The equipment on the loading dock has always been focused on safety. Adding the additional benefit of keeping the dock floor dry contributes yet another dimension to the well-being of the workforce in facilities.
Sometimes, a word or phrase becomes so overused in an industry that it begins to lose some of its impact. How many times have you heard phrases like “going green,” “bottom line,” or “new and improved”?
One buzzword that should still be impactful, however, is Ergonomics. Ergonomics deals with the implementation of tools that help workers to be as safe and productive as possible.
When it comes to the loading dock, ergonomics can play a major role in productivity. Since many of the tasks necessary to facilitate a loading dock require manual labor, providing workers with ergonomically-friendly tools can make a huge difference. Here are a few material handling products that you can add to your loading dock to make it more ergonomically-friendly.
- Manual Wheel Restraints provide a safe, ergonomic solution for restraining many different types of vehicles. There’s no lifting or bending required to engage or disengage these types of wheel chock, and it requires only 35 lbs. of force to operate.
- Lift Tables in your warehouse also help prevent excessive reaching, bending and straining by employees. They “bring the work to the worker,” an essential factor in ergonomics.
- Rail Lifts help prevent workers from carrying products to different elevations in the warehouse.
- Air-Powered Edge-Of-Dock Levelers use pushbutton control to help you load and unload trailers, providing an ergonomic and cost-effective warehouse solution.
- Having automated loading dock equipment that’s interlocked and sequenced using a Master Control Panel is the ultimate in worker-friendly dock equipment. With one push of a button, the entire loading dock equipment sequence is carried out.
When analyzing the ergonomics of your facility, keep in mind that the less intensive labor a facility’s worker performs, the more productive he or she can be in the long run. A minor investment in ergonomically-friendly equipment today will reap benefits for years to come. Best of all, we’ve got loading dock solutions that won’t break your worker’s backs…or the bank.