Archive for June, 2010

Should you use Wire Decks in your Pallet Rack?

June 25, 2010

Wire Decking for Pallet Rack

I had a call from a customer today with questions about wire decking.  There are a number of reasons to use decking in pallet rack installations.  First, there are National Fire Codes which severely limit the use of wood in racking.  Solid decks will not allow the water from fire sprinklers, or fire hoses to flow down th the floor level, the most likely location for a fire.  Wood also outgasses toxic fumes that are hazardous.  Wood decking is allowed if you add a sprinkler to every level.  Believe me, it will be much more economical to add wire decks. There is also an increased risk of injury with wood decks, particularly in areas where product is pulled by hand from rack.  

The best reason to use decking is safety.  If a forklift operator is trying to place a pallet on a rack shelf level at 18′, his vision has to be very good to place the load correctly with the pallet weight distributed over the front and back beams.  If he misses, the pallet can fall, and that can cause serious injuries or worse.  The wire decking is designed to handle the weight of the pallet, so if a load is not correctly placed, the pallet will not fall.  

Wire decks also allow light to filter through to ground level.  An operation with wire decks will also be cleaner, since dust will fall through the decks to the ground, where it can be collected.  

We get a few dozen calls every year from frantic customers that have gotten notice from the local fire marshall that the wood must be removed from the racking system.  Then, there is a furious rush to replace all the wood, which means every pallet in the place has to be moved at least once.  So, it makes sense to use wire from the start and to have a safer, cleaner and more illuminated work space.  

Thanks to Nashville Wire for the picture.

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Back-Belts are NOT Created Equal

June 18, 2010

The use of back belts in industrial settings is very controversial. Many companies have tried them and found that they either didn’t help at all, or possibly they made the situation worse. Traditional back belts just squeeze you into an existing poor posture.

Back-A-Line Belts are Not the Same!!

There is one product on the market that is truly different. While most back belts are just “girdles”, the Back-A-Line belt has a light-weight, yet firm lumbar pad that stops pain and promotes good posture, while strengthening muscles and preventing back injury.

There have been over 1000 tests on this belt, from numerous industries and there has never been a bad result!

The best part is that it is truly a no-lose situation. If you will agree to do a simple survey before the use of the belts begins, than one after 30 days, then you have a 100% guarantee. If the Back-A-Line doesn’t significantly decrease back pain, then the manufacturer returns them and pays the shipping too.

We have seen a great deal of success with these belts. I have a customer that calls each time they hire a new person in the warehouse and orders them a new belt. They don’t let any one work without the Back-A-Line!

The question is not if the Back-A-Line will decrease pain and injury or if you will get a good return on investment, but how great results will be? If you prevent one injury or decrease the discomfort for even one worker, the
ROI will be positive.  It’s a no-lose proposition.

Ergonomic Mats are a Great Investment

June 10, 2010

This morning I was greeted with several orders from the same customer for ergonomic mats. It’s a great way to start the day.

I think good Ergo Mats are the single most cost-effective investment for a company. The cost is very reasonable and the benefits to employees are huge.

We provided mats to an entire production area, and when I would visit the plant the workers on the line would yell at me “Hi, Mat Lady” and “I love my Mat”. I had one lady tell me that the mat had greatly improved her life. Since we provided the mats she and her husband had been going out dancing again.   A good Ergo Mat is $60-$70.  Amazing how a few dollars can really improve the quality of work and personal life!  Talk to someone that really knows ergonomic matting, buy some good mats and improve health, safety and morale at the same time.

Space-Saving Mezzanines

June 1, 2010

Business is on the uprise.  During the economic downturn, many multi-location distribution organizations closed and consolidated warehouses.  As the economy picks up, then space becomes a major issue for the remaining locations. 

In many operations, a mezzanine system is the ideal way to add floor space.  Many work operations  I see are packed at the floor level, but there isn’t anything above 8′ or 10′  in most of the warehouse.  Creating a second level above the main floor has lots of advantages.  Moving or expanding to another secondary warehouse should always be the last choice. 

Mezzanines can be used in several ways.  Some companies will place office spaces, conference rooms, spare parts or slower-turning inventory on top of the mezzanine.  For others, a mezzanine is an ideal way to place a work cell in a designated area.  For more industrial applications, a mezzanine can be used for mixing operations, with raw materials fed from the top-level to the lower level, improving productivity and creating safer walking and work spaces for workers.  Materials can be moved to the top of the mezzanine by forklift, vertical material lifts or conveyors. 

The space above 8′ is already paid  for in the monthly rent or mortgage.  It makes sense to use the space for operations.