Many materials handling activities involve strenuous or repetitive activities, such as lifting loads, installing a component, or picking products into totes. Those physical stresses could lead to worker injury and additional costs associated with lost productivity and downtime. Ergonomic equipment is used in many facilities to help the task fit the worker, instead of forcing the worker to fit the task. A variety of ergonomic assist systems improve the safety and well-being of operators working in manufacturing and warehousing facilities. Typical applications include lifting a worker or the item to the appropriate height to comfortably complete a task, tilting a load for picking, elevating or rotating a component for additional assembly, or supporting a load during its movement.
Ergonomic systems come in a variety of styles to support workers as they perform various tasks, including:
Adjustable worker elevation platform or personnel lift: Portable or stationary, these lifts raise and lower a worker to appropriate working heights so that tasks can be performed at a safe reaching level. The platforms are mechanically driven and manually adjustable, allowing the operator to control his or her position relative to the task at hand.
Work positioner: One of a variety of styles of equipment that supports or elevates a load—either from the bottom up or overhead—to place it at the optimal working height for an operator to complete a task. Types include:
Workstation, work table or work bench: Comprised of a horizontal surface whose height can be vertically adjusted to accommodate workers of various heights and physiques, a Workstation is commonly used in assembly and manufacturing operations. It provides a space where components or finishing processes can be added to a work-in-process.
Cart: A manually pushed plastic or metal platform that rides on casters or wheels to move items within a facility. Carts can be equipped with drawers, bins, trays or flat surfaces to secure items for transport and storage. A lift cart is a hand cart with a scissor- or mast- supported lifting platform.
Hand truck or walk behind fork truck: A type of fork truck for pallet load movement that is powered. Its movement is directed by an operator who walks behind the vehicle instead of riding on it.
Pallet rotator or pallet inverter: For transferring of a full case load from one pallet to another, this device makes it easy to transfer the entire stack by mechanically inverting, or flipping it over, 180 degrees—instead of removing and restacking by hand. These systems can also be used to replace a damaged pallet or to pull crushed, damaged, or broken containers or bags from the bottom of a stacked load.
Ergonomic systems are used in a variety of areas throughout a facility to support workers performing processing and handling tasks:
Ergonomic systems provide a variety of benefits:
Ergonomic systems assist in the lifting, positioning and movement of any type of load whether small or large, heavy loads or repetitive movements throughout a facility in a variety of industries, including: