MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 75


SAFER HANDlING

What to Ask When Shopping
for Ergonomic and Safety Equipment
By JEAN FEINGOlD

W

hen there are ergonomic issues in a plant, there
are most likely production bottlenecks, waste or
even lost time injuries. Since there is usually more
than one way to solve a material handling (MH) problem,
finding the best ergonomic solution and/or safety equipment
is an investigative process. Here are some simple steps to start
that process:
1.	Ask	yourself,	"In	a	perfect	world,	what	do	I	really	want?"	
advised MHI's EASE Council Chairman Jim Galante of
MHI Member Southworth Products. "Taking the time to
evaluate what you really want helps get to the root of the
problem instead of just fixing something on the surface."
2.	Do	I	really	understand	the	problem	and	all	of	the	issues	
involved?	Talk to the people who are doing the task. Ask
them what slows them down, what wastes their time and
what bothers them. Ask them what hurts or feels sore at
the end of their shift or their workweek. Knowing what
problems they have while doing their jobs is essential in
finding effective solutions.
3.	What	are	the	disrupters	and	how	do	I	mitigate	them?	
Disrupters are things that waste workers' time by interfering with the flow of material or the flow of work. They can
be physical, like poorly positioned material at an assembly
station, material that is stacked too high (or too low), awkward to handle components or a need to remove excess
packaging. Other disrupters can be subtle. Examples of these
are the height of a work bench, excess reaching or bending
by workers to obtain good access to parts or assemblies or
inadequate lighting.
4.	What	is	my	budget?	"One criterion customers must set
early in the solution discovery process is a realistic budget,"
Galante said. "Money drives many decisions and knowing
the cost of the problem-what the production bottleneck
is really costing the company-is a fundamental element
in determining how much money should be invested to
achieve the solution." Often management will buy into
solutions that will produce a quick return on investment
(ROI). A payback of the solution's cost within six months
or else makes a compelling argument, but even a ROI of one
year can be attractive if the problem is serious. Improving
the ergonomics and reducing the risk of injury to workers
adds additional positive emphasis to the solution's benefits.
5.	Who	can	provide	the	help	I	need?	Consulting with a MH
solution provider is often a good choice. Their veteran salespeople have been in hundreds of plants and have seen and
been directly involved in solving a litany of MH problems.
This person is an excellent resource for information and

ideas and will have access to a wide variety of products that
may offer the best solutions.
Another option is hiring an independent expert consultant. "You must think about who can best assist you when
there are complex issues that will entail changes in the
manufacturing process," said Galante. "A consultant would
be best for getting an unbiased opinion and defining what is
really needed. They will do research to determine the best
solutions to the problem. They can be expensive, but their
services are valuable. If the issues and the possible solutions
are less complex, a salesperson for a MH solution provider
can suggest appropriate products they are familiar with.
"The material handling industry is unique because providing consultation on appropriate applications to solve problems
is almost always done free of charge by both the product
manufacturers and their distributors," he added. "You can
get the information you need without any financial risk to
your company."

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MHI SolutIonS

75


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3

CEO Update
Intelligent Robots Offer a Competitive Edge
3D Printing Will Disrupt Manufacturing as Adoption Rates Rise
Predictive Analytics
Sensors and the Industrial Internet of Things
Industry Focus: Consumer Electronics
Industry Report Released
2016 MHI Innovation Awards
The New Face of the Supply Chain?
2016 MHI Annual Conference Preview
Regional Supply Chain Education and Workforce Summits Raise Awareness of Industry, Opportunities
Economic Market Analysis
Safer Handling
Solutions Group Update
Fulfillment Update
Solutions Spotlight
Scholarship Winners: Where Are They Now?
MHI News
Calendar
Index of Advertisers
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - cover1
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - cover2
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 3
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 4
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 5
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 6
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - CEO Update
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - Intelligent Robots Offer a Competitive Edge
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 9
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 10
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 11
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 12
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 13
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 3D Printing Will Disrupt Manufacturing as Adoption Rates Rise
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 15
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 16
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 17
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 18
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 19
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - Predictive Analytics
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 21
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 22
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 23
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - Sensors and the Industrial Internet of Things
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 25
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 26
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 27
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 28
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 29
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - Industry Focus: Consumer Electronics
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 31
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 32
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 33
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - Industry Report Released
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 35
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 36
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 37
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 38
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 39
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 40
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 41
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 2016 MHI Innovation Awards
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 43
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 44
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 45
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 46
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 47
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - The New Face of the Supply Chain?
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 49
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 50
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 51
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 52
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 53
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 54
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 55
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 56
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 57
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 2016 MHI Annual Conference Preview
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 59
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 60
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 61
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 62
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 63
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 64
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 65
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - Regional Supply Chain Education and Workforce Summits Raise Awareness of Industry, Opportunities
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 67
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 68
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 69
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 70
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 71
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 72
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - Economic Market Analysis
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 74
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - Safer Handling
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 76
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 77
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - Solutions Group Update
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 79
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 80
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - Fulfillment Update
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 82
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 83
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 84
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - Solutions Spotlight
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 86
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - Scholarship Winners: Where Are They Now?
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 88
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - MHI News
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 90
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 91
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 92
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 93
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 94
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 95
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 96
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - Index of Advertisers
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - 98
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - cover3
MHI Solutions - Volume 4, Issue 3 - cover4
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