Material handling

Trends in ... materials handling/warehouse safety

Use ‘the most advanced technologies as part of an overall safety strategy’

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Moving products from delivery trucks to storage areas, then to shelves, is hazardous work. Forklift incidents, lifting injuries and falling objects are some of the hazards workers face.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 10 occupations accounted for 33.2% of all private industry cases involving days away from work in 2018 and 2019. Of these, laborers and freight, stock, and material movers (hand) had the highest number of DAFW cases: 64,160.

So, how can employers prevent injuries among warehouse workers or other workers who move materials?

Safety+Health talked with Brian Jones, vice president of business development for Newburgh, IN-based Matrix Design Group, to find out.

S+H: What concerns or questions are customers coming to you with about materials handling? What advice do you provide?

Jones: We are often asked – particularly by companies that have experienced accidents or multiple near misses – “What can we do to avoid accidents, particularly involving pedestrians, in the future?”

Our advice is to utilize the most advanced technologies as part of an overall safety strategy that can alert employees to potential hazards and help prevent accidents.

S+H: Have there been recent innovations in materials handling?

Jones: Through new developments in machine learning, visual artificial intelligence can now be “taught” to identify specific targets in a facility, such as pedestrians, forklifts, stop signs and trucks, and provide audio or video alerts when any are in close proximity. This technology is being used in many applications, including collision avoidance and pedestrian crossing cameras.

Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association

Coming next month:

  • Eye/face protection

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