Easing manual unloading

As the volume of inbound deliveries increase, so too does the potential for injury during manual unloading. ESL’s Destuff-IT machinery increases unloading efficiency and lowers the potential for strain injuries and mishaps.

June 25, 2012   by Engineered Lifting Systems & Equipment Inc

Each year millions of intercontinental freight containers arrive in North America and the World Shipping Council is predicting there will be many more as freight volume doubles by 2020. As container traffic increases so does the demand for warehousing capacity and the need to alleviate bottlenecks on the receiving dock. This will lead to more manual unloading, which impacts worker safety and increases the likelihood of injuries and added costs.

Engineered Lifting Systems & Equipment Inc. (ELS) has a solution. The Elmira, Ont. manufacturer of overhead material lifting systems and equipment has developed a destuffing platform that makes unloading more efficient while reducing worker fatigue and the potential for injury.

Often workers will unload onto skids for transfer by forklift truck to warehouse facilities or by lifting and carrying product to a host telescopic or flexible conveyor system. Manual handling is required for expensive, breakable items, mixed SKUs that need to be sorted during unloading and during cross docking. But this creates ergonomic and safety issues that lead to injuries.

Eliminates overhead lifting
A 2010 Ohio State University research project identified overhead reaching and lifting; repetitious bending, lifting, twisting, and carrying for a distance; and muscular fatigue over the duration of a shift as key concerns.

And a workplace safety index prepared by business insurers Liberty Mutual in 2010 ranked overexertion first among the top five causes for injury resulting from lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying, or throwing (leading to $13.4 billion in direct costs in 2008).

ELS’s Destuff-IT machinery has an adjustable personnel platform that workers stand on and they use controls to change vertical height to correctly position themselves in relation to the changing level of the product being unloaded, thus eliminating overhead lifting.

A pivoting conveyor belt acts as a moveable end-of-conveyor loading point for product and operators grasp the handle bar to release a positioning brake that allows them to float the conveyor head into position (left, right, up and down) adjacent to the box wall. This articulation minimizes lifting functions such as bending, twisting, and reaching. Instead of lifting, turning and carrying, the product slides onto the pivoting conveyor belt. Operators then drive the Destuff-IT into the container or trailer as unloading progresses, smoothly integrating with host telescopic and flexible conveyors.

Making receiving more efficient is not just good for the health of workers, it also reduces insurance premiums and compensation claims, while cutting handling costs.
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This article is an edited version of material submitted by Engineered Lifting Systems & Equipment Inc.

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