How to prevent warehouse accidents

Within the logistics arena, there are a myriad of scenarios where safety can be compromised. In a highly controlled environment like a warehouse, accidents are still highly likely to occur and even more so if the cargo stored consists of hazardous goods. In the US alone, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) indicated that across the United States, there were over 150,000 people working in warehouses across the country. So if one considers the immense amount of cargo movement all across the Asia Pacific region, these numbers would easily surpass the US.
With the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) and mining sector growing rapidly, 3PLs have had to increase their agility in terms of turnaround times. The result is a surge in workload in this region, which in turn creates a simultaneous focus on the safety and ergonomics in the warehouses. This then brings about key concerns centring around operations involving lifting actions, vehicular movement and electrical functions, or a combination of all.
Forklifts, electrical and wiring, hazard communication, exits, mechanical power transmission and respiratory protection are just some of the hotspots identified by Safework Australia over the years that can be applicable to a warehouse just about anywhere. Thus it would be bad for the business if an employer ignores these elements that constitute a good and safe work environment.
Infusing the mindset of the integration of a pro-active approach to the management of safety, providing due attention and budgets on injury prevention into corporate culture would go a long way in reaping productivity and efficiency in the facility. Nobody would be looking forward to a 3PL version of Deepwater Horizon.
Safety guidelines in most industrial facilities are mandatory especially when it comes to hazardous materials. Attention needs to be given to liquid spills, which should to be cleaned as soon as possible because the exposure to workers is very high and can cause many problems so fixing damaged equipment is paramount. Preventing or reducing the chances of injury can be as simple as optimising procedures to manage the physical layout of the warehouse, reduce walking times and making sure access to equipment and material is easy.
In the Asia Pacific, German chemical producer BASF utilises its own Warehouse Safety Assessment (WSA) tool – a standardised questionnaire designed to assess the quality, safety and environmental management systems of third-party warehouses. The trained safety adviser will be responsible for undertaking these WSAs. At the end of each review, corrective and improvement actions will be discussed and agreed between the assessor and the assessed company.
In the packaging arena, containers have been undergoing a redesign because of the introduction of weight limits on containers. On paper, this will look to provide easy access to the product and reduce the stress due to lifting.
Replacing wooden pallets and corrugated boxes to reusable plastic containers will reduce or stamp out the possibilities of injuries. The key is to reduce the bending, reaching, and pulling associated with the tasks in warehouses and manufacturing facilities.
Looking for ergonomic options that increase the comfort of the operator when choosing a new forklift or automation technology for your warehouse will likely see higher productivity together with improved health and energy levels. The assist devices for moving containers could also include vacuum lift machines that use a vacuum of air to grip and lift boxes, or even computer-controlled assist devices that are sensor guided and can make fast, automatic adjustments for accurate container placement.
Manual handling has seen a steady recently as there has been a shift towards the investment in automation of order picking – especially forklifts. For the sake of efficiency these machines are designed for heavy lifting in distribution centres (DCs). Looking at the downside, without proper training and instruction, they can also cause injury to persons and damage to property so manufacturers of this equipment have been looking at ways to prevent these outcomes occurring. One tip is to invest in impact shock switches, which automatically switch the vehicle off upon any collision.
Models by leading forklift producers Junghenrich, Crown and Toyota offer impact resistance, which has increased up to threefold combining aluminium and cast iron in the manufacture, helping the trucks to cope with the normal bumps and scrapes of everyday applications. Linked suspension castors have been fitted to provide maximum load and truck stability on any surface.
Let’s not forget that workers in a warehouse also exert themselves on strenuous ergonomic activity that stress the body, which offers up risks such as repetitive motion strain and other potential injuries. The only way around this is education even if employees should be able to identify tasks that may involve higher risks in the warehouse. Employers need to be proactive and identify tell-tale signs of the symptoms of discomfort.
It is important that employees should ensure that any incident, accident or symptom be reported to their supervisor so that the appropriate measures can be put in place. Following this, the management has to give the appropriate attention to these incidents with documentation for follow up and action.
In Australia, with workers being aware of their rights to a safe work environment, plus the increasing insurance coverage of workers in a workplace, a safe warehouse environment will ultimately see that important cost savings are maintained with increase productivity and reduced equipment downtime.

Workplace ladders to prevent falls from height

United Forklift and Access Solutions have released the Elevah range of ladder systems and access equipment to prevent accidents and falls from low heights; one of the leading causes of serious workplace injuries.
The range includes the Elevah 40 Move, a self-propelled aluminium personal access lift with a four metre working height that has won the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) Product of the Year award for low-level access.
The first vertical mast (access) and order picker (forklift) products to be distributed in Australia will also include the Elevah 40 Move Stock Picker for safe access to stored products, as well as the Elevah 51 Move Stock Picker with up to 5.1m working height and the Elevah 65 Move Stock Picker with a working height of up to 6.5 m, the largest lift height in its class.
Elevah products feature safe working platforms with built-in protection cages for operators enabling safe operation even in crowded or restricted spaces. The compact and versatile access machines each feature tight turning performance with a high turning radius that enables the machinery to turn virtually within its own footprint.
The range provide higher productivity than conventional ladder systems and have safety features including a side entrance with sensors which stop the cage opening; dual operator presence device; anti-tilting device; electronic slope monitoring; and overload monitoring.
In NSW between July 2011 and May 2016, 3168 workers were injured in falls from ladders, including two fatalities.
Nationally, in the eight years from July 2003 to June 2011, 37 workers died following a fall from a ladder.

Traceability of goods key to new partnership

A strategic partnership between Result Group and IDlocate brings together the printing expertise of Result and IDlocate’s consumer-facing authentication platform.
Both companies believe the partnership will allow them to deliver best practice traceability and anti-counterfeiting.
“It’s an exciting partnership” says Result Group GM Michael Dossor. “Consumers are demanding traceability as to the source of supply…this strategic partnership allows us to continue delivering best practice solutions for our clients with an off-the- shelf solution. Of upmost importance is ease of use and consumer engagement; these are ticked off better than any other solution we have seen.”
“Our partnership with IDlocate enables us to deliver our customers a complete turnkey solution from Coding and Marking equipment and control software, to print a unique QR code on every product that will read and engage with any consumer on any handheld platform,” says Michael Harrop, Result’s Business Unit Manager. “Whilst there are a few other options in the market, we haven’t seen anything that works so well from both the manufacturer and the consumer stand-point.”
IDlocate was founded in 2015 by two consumer behaviour specialists, who understood that the existing platforms were IT led, and they were not delivering what the consumer was demanding or what brands could deliver. It was great to have all the technology and tests, but when they aren’t communicated to the consumer in an easy to access platform, the consumers lose interest and don’t engage with brands.
The solution is built on an enhanced version of a platform that has been delivering  coding solutions for the last 15 plus years, and addresses all the issues and risk in printing a unique identifier in a manufacturing environment. More importantly, it allows a consumer to engage with the brand owner’s message without the need for a specific reader or to download a special app.
Everything is web deployed meaning it does not matter what smartphone or reader is used, or what social media application or code reader a consumer is using. There is no barrier for the consumer to participate. Research has shown that consumers are now demanding to know where their products are sourced from, so it makes sense to display this to them in a way that provides for easy to access content. This is addressed by a brand owner being able to build custom content relevant to their products and existing systems, and share this with consumers at the touch of a button.

Floor scale offers manoeuvrability in tight spots

U.S. Toy Company operates a 750,000 square foot distribution center that ships to retail consumers, as well as commercial and wholesale accounts. When it facility space requirements changed this led to a reduction in truck shipment preparation space. So Fairbanks Scales suggested one of its Yellow Jacket U-Shaped floor scale as a solution.
U.S. Toy Company’s distribution center includes robotic and manual picking areas that ship using parcel, less than truckload (LTL), and full truckload modes. The company reduced the area devoted to shipping as part of an overall facility space reorganisation that allowed it to make better overall use of the distribution center. The reductions had a major impact on the LTL department, leaving the area with limited space dedicated to the preparation of truck shipments.
U.S. Toy had one older floor scale, along with about ten table scales for parcel-UPS type shipping.  The U-Shaped floor scale is an alternative to traditional floor scales in manufacturing and warehouse applications where floor space is at a premium. It claims to allow material handlers to capture the weight of standard and non-standard pallets and skids without removing the pallet jack.
Operators move the pallet into place over the scale, lower the pallet jack so the load is resting on the scale, capture the weight, and then raise the pallet jack to easily move the pallet or skid to its next location. This reduces weighing times by eliminating the step of pulling the pallet jack out from underneath the pallet.
The scale is 2.4-inches tall and does not require a ramp or pit. Accessories offered include a portable wheel kit and a quick-disconnect cable (between the scale and the readout). The built-in handles, used to move the scale, were designed for comfort and to avoid stress and injury.
At U.S. Toy, the new Yellow Jacket U-Shaped floor scale is used to weigh skids of product in preparation for shipping.
The large facility comprises three buildings and they sometimes need a scale in areas other than the shipping space. For example, they can bring the U-shaped scale to the receiving area for cross docking, a logistics procedure involving unloading imported containers from an incoming semi-trailer truck and loading them directly into outbound trucks with no storage and without skidding it (weighing for shipping out to a customer).
Another example is use of the scale for special projects, in which they might be preparing pallets for a future shipment. The new scale allows them to bring the scale to that area, versus bringing the pallet to the scale. In the past, products had to be skidded wherever the scale was permanently positioned. This involved using a forklift, bringing products to the scale, weighing them and bringing them back for shipping.

60m road train launched in Perth

WA-owned heavy road transport equipment manufacturer Bruce Rock Engineering (BRE) unveiled its latest 60m road train during the opening of its new workshop in Perth.
The BRE Super Quad road train is expected to provide cost effectiveness to the mining sector, helping reduce heavy vehicle road traffic and the impact on roads in the state.
The new facility, located in Forrestfield, is one hectare in size, with a 2700 square metre workshop, and 350 square metres of administration offices. All design, manufacture, and construction will be conducted in-house.
Secretary to the WA minister for Agriculture, Food, and Transport, Jim Chown, applauded the company’s ability to grow nationally while continuing to retain its manufacturing capabilities in this state.
“This new Forrestfield facility is strategically located right in the heart of a transport and logistics hub and on the road train route to the north of this state and to the east coast, further strengthening our state’s capability to deliver cost and time efficiently,” he said.
During the opening, BRE managing director Damion Verhoogt also announced the company’s merger with fabrication company Transbeam Industries, saying it will increase their manufacturing capacity to nearly 50 per cent.

Konecranes set to steel Melbourne show

Global crane manufacturer and service leader Konecranes is extending its technology and leadership involvement in the steel industry by being a major sponsor of the Australian Steel Convention for the 5th year in a row.
At this year’s convention, hosted in Melbourne CBD from September 11-13, Konecranes, which employs over 12,000 people across 600 locations in 48 countries, will demonstrate its UNITON crane.
UNITON is particularly applicable to the steel industry and related uses such as materials handling, manufacturing and maintenance.
A strong focus this year will also be on advanced technologies such as SMART features, lifecycle care through yourKONECRANES and the new Konecranes parts store, all of which are designed to provide a greater level of safety, reliability and information that can help to better plan maintenance and service schedules.
“Our continued support of this convention provides us with a valuable opportunity to discuss the steel industry with other experts and help shape its future into one that is safe, efficient and reliable,” said Konecranes Managing Director, Australia, New Zealand and Philippines, James Dowe.
Dowe will also personally be attending Konecranes’ booth at the convention, along with Konecranes Head of APAC Region, Steve Gagnuss, National Industrial Equipment Sales Manager, Peter Monaghan and Operations Manager, Daniel Mccarney in order to answer any questions about Konecranes technologies or the steel industry in general.
“Our company has a strong ethos of safety, which is vital to the steel industry. I’ve had some insightful conversations about the future of the steel industry at past conferences, and I’d invite anyone who is interested in cranes for the steel industry to visit our booth and chat to me and my team about the latest advanced technologies for the steel industry,” said Dowe.
“One of our biggest focuses over the past 12 months has been on improving the user experience when deciding on, ordering and receiving a crane, part or service. Our lifecycle care campaign can add years to the overall life of valuable plant and identify problems before they occur,” he said.

Toyota Forklifts one part of the Asia-Pacific Warehousing

A specialist warehousing, distribution and supply chain business in Melbourne's western suburbs has relied on Toyota forklifts since its inception, and recently received an unexpected bonus when purchasing its latest forklift.

Asia-Pacific Warehousing managing director Rohan Meegama says he has used Toyota forklifts exclusively since establishing the business in 2008, and currently runs an all-Toyota fleet of nine forklifts at its headquarters at Truganina.

“I’d had positive experiences with Toyota forklifts before, so it made sense to stick with what you know and trust,” Mr Meegama said. “We’re all extremely happy with our Toyota forklifts and they’ve never let us down.”

Mr Meegama’s latest Toyota Forklift purchase, a battery-electric three-wheel 7FBE18, came after the company opened a new satellite warehouse to cater for a new business opportunity.

“After opening the new warehouse we had to consider how best to manage our forklift resources across the two sites. At one point I thought we might need another gas-powered forklift to unload containers and another reach truck for racking, but after talking to our TMHA sales manager it was brought to my attention that the 7FBE18 forklift could do both,” he said.

Toyota Material Handling Australia (TMHA) area sales manager Mike Johns said it was a good example of the diverse range of Toyota equipment available.

“It was an economical and convenient outcome for them,” Mr Johns said. “The 7FBE18 is a lightweight and highly manoeuvrable forklift that is able to make pivot turns, so was perfect for their requirements. The warehouse it will operate in is relatively small so there was no need for a larger, higher payload forklift or one with a high mast.”

And much to Mr Meegama’s delight, the decision to purchase the new 7FBE18 forklift came with an unexpected bonus.

“We had no idea that TMHA was running a promotion at the time, with a new Toyota Yaris as the prize. When I got the call to say we had won a new car I was thrilled. I was very surprised and happy to hear the news … it was a real bonus and we’re very pleased all-round,” he said.

As it turns out Asia-Pacific Warehousing is no stranger to Toyota’s cars, utes and SUVs.

“We already had a fleet of Toyota vehicles for our staff, including a HiLux, two Yaris – which has now become three – two Camrys and a RAV 4, with another HiLux soon to join the fleet as well.

“We’ve always been happy with the Toyotas. Just like the forklifts they are comfortable, easy to use and their reliability means they never let you down,” Mr Meegama said.

In an example of the broader ‘One Toyota’ offering that covers a range of business needs, all company vehicles are financed through Toyota Financial Services.

Asia-Pacific Warehousing is a family owned and operated business that provides a comprehensive range of warehousing, distribution and supply chain services, including wharf transport, storage, handling and distribution.

Eliminate Risks -Store Correctly, Inspect Regularly

From manual handling to dangerous goods, the supply chain and warehouse industry presents several hazards, but many injuries and accidents can be avoided by carrying out safe work practices. 

Safety should always come first, which is why Pro-Visual Publishing, in partnership with the Supply Chain & Logistics Association of Australia (SCLAA), the National Safety Council of Australia (NSCA) Foundation and Safe Work Australia, has released the Supply Chain, Warehouse & Distribution Guide to Workplace Safety 2015/16, an essential resource that aims to educate workers by providing instructions and information to reduce workplace risks.

Manual handling is a significant cause of injuries in warehousing and logistics operations, particularly where large amounts of loading, unloading and moving stock is involved.

Awkward postures, confined areas and the use of incorrect equipment or tools can cause these injuries.

To keep the workplace safe, manual handling tasks need to be constantly re-evaluated to ensure risks are controlled.

Limiting the height of shelves to shoulder height and using powered conveyors or slides are just some of the suggestions the Guide offers to eliminate and reduce manual handling hazards.

Storage areas are another aspect of the warehousing industry with a number of potential hazards. Racking should be designed specifically for the type of product being stored, and regular inspections should be conducted to check its structural integrity.

When storing dangerous goods, it is integral for employers to comply with legislative requirements in order to minimise risks.

Labels and Material Safety Data Sheets ensure users of the dangerous goods are aware of the nature of the substances and any relevant emergency procedures.

“I would like to thank the sponsors of the Supply Chain, Warehouse & Distribution Guide to Workplace Safety 2015/16. Their support has made it possible for it to be distributed free of charge.” 
–    John Hutchings, CEO, Pro-Visual Publishing.

Cemat Australia confirms dedication to innovation with new names confirmed for show

CeMAT Australia has announced the involvement of two industry heavyweights, Linde Material Handling and Dematic, demonstrating its commitment to the innovation and development of the intralogistics industry across the country. 

Returning for its second year, CeMAT Australia will take place at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Tuesday 12 July to Thursday 14 July. Deutsche Messe, the organisers of the show, are committed to an event where ideas are exchanged and discussions are prompted on how innovation will shape the intralogistics industry’s future.

Sarah Haughey, Show Director for CeMAT AUSTRALIA, said: “At this year’s event, we want the leading names in the industry to all be in one place, to have their voices heard and generate conversation. This will not just benefit visitors, but also the wider industry, with new ways of looking at how we do everything from health and safety, to efficiency to new developments.”

“The signing of Linde and Dematic is great news for CeMAT Australia and we’re pleased to have their support for this year’s show.”

The confirmation that Linde Material Handling, a leading manufacturer of forklifts, and Dematic, a supplier of integrated automated technology, software and services to optimise the supply chain, will be in attendance, reinforces CeMAT Australia’s position as the preeminent showcase for the intralogistics industry.

Linde Material Handling will be the official sponsor of the National Forklift Competition, organised by the Australian Warehousing Association, and the Knowledge Theatre, where attendees will be given the opportunity to hear how industry pioneers have overcome problems and implemented leading solutions, nationally and globally.

George Pappas, Director Marketing at Linde, said: “We want Australia to be the recognised leader in operations performance and CeMAT is just one platform to help the industry achieve this. Furthermore, our involvement with the Forklift Competition will also help demonstrate how equipment can be used efficiently and safely, which is always a priority for us.”

In 2016, Dematic also celebrates its 50 year anniversary in Australia and New Zealand and will showcase its innovative new solutions at the show. 

Carole McCormick, Marketing Communications Manager at Dematic, added: “We’re pleased to confirm our attendance at CeMAT Australia  and our sponsorship of the event. As was the case last year, we plan on bringing a range of new equipment to the show and demonstrating it in action.”

The exhibitors that are attending this year’s CeMAT Australia are being urged to have stands that are interactive, in order to fully engage attendees through live demonstration and awe inspiring technology.

Adaptalift Hyster brings the technologically advanced XT series Forklift to Australia

Adaptalift Hyster is proud to bring the new technologically advanced Hyster XT series forklifts to the Australian Market.

The new XT series replaces the TX series of internal combustion counterbalanced forklifts and is available in different variations with lifting capacities from 1500kg up to 3500kg, as well as a variety of fuel options including LPG, diesel and dual fuel. New tier 4 diesel engines are available in the larger lift capacities to comply with new stricter emission levels.

The XT series continues to be the solution for all materials handling needs, with a strong commitment to quality and dependability, incorporating proven design processes and systems to deliver a class-leading product.

The new trucks provide unmatched low cost of operation, maximum uptime, operator preferred ergonomic features and unmatched performance in even the toughest conditions.

Hyster has incorporated many industry leading advanced features including a new innovative cooling system, noise reduction measures and a new stability system.

Hyster forklifts continue to be the choice of industry operators with the Vista cabin providing supreme driver comfort with a superior driver’s seat and ergonomic steering column, whilst also offering high visibility through the Vista mast.

The XT series has been designed to require low maintenance offering extended service intervals and easy maintenance through a combination of the integrated dash display and easy opening hood.

Overall the new XT series provides total truck reliability and low cost of ownership, while providing an advanced truck with state of the art modern features. 

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