Moving from manually handling to machine aided material handling results in less work-related injuries and improved health & safety among employees. In addition, ergonomic material handling can increase the overall productivity and efficiency of the workflow. Safe material handling is essential in the pharma and chemical industry especially when having to meet certain criteria for operating in a Cleanroom or Explosion Proof facility.
First of all, why do we talk about pharma and chemical together? Even though the manufacturing environments differ greatly, with pharma being extremely clean and sanitary while the chemical environment is often rough and dirty, the material handling problems are often very similar.
One of the most frequent ergonomic problems in pharma and chemical manufacturing is the manual handling of heavy loads. Examples of common manual handling problems in pharma and chemical industries include:
- Loading and emptying of bags
- Lifting and transporting of drums & barrels
- Handling and transportation of containers and rolls
An ergonomic lifting solution can reduce or eliminate material handling problems all together.
Productive Benefits of Ergonomic Material Handling
Using machine aided handling generally results in less work-related injuries and better health among the employees. Another beneficial effect of improved ergonomics is that by enhancing the design of the work environment, it can also generate increased efficiency and productivity.
Main productive benefits of ergonomic material handling:
- Decrease in accidents and injuries
- Optimization of methods and times
- Increased productivity
- Quality improvement (error reduction)
- Cost reduction
- Benefits for the worker including improved health and quality of life
- Increased motivation and concentration
Assisted lifting devices usually require assistance from an additional worker to guide the load from origin to destination. Some lifting aids can be fully integrated into the structure of the work environment (for example vacuum lifters, hoists) while some can be portable or mobile (for example trolleys, mobile cranes).
In the pharma and chemical industry, the main concern is handling goods safely. Loads must be moved or handled with caution, while also keeping the pace. Another important factor to consider is the need for Explosion Proof or and Stainless Steel systems that can comply with the industry regulations. So, what solutions are available?
An estimated 21 million shipping containers are currently moving goods from one point to another, with over 500 million loose loaded container shipments every year. This poses challenges to container unloading health & safety as the large majority of loose loaded containers are loaded and unloaded manually. What we need is an efficient, economical way to manage health and safety risks when packing and unpacking containers.
Goods and products must be protected and preserved if they are to get from where they are produced to where they are used. And while modern packaging does a remarkable job at safeguarding contents, smart companies are now understanding that food packaging safety needs to start much earlier in the process.
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