Working together to educate facility owners and operators about the importance of safer, healthier, and more ergonomically correct workplaces, the members of the Ergonomic Assist Systems & Equipment (EASE) Council of MHI are encouraging other manufacturers of this type of equipment to join their ranks. The group recently released two videos detailing the benefits of membership for ergonomics professionals, as well as explaining the importance of ergonomics for operations — whether they’re utilizing automated, semi-automated, manual material handling, or a mix of all three.
In spite of the Great Resignation, the existing material handling workforce is continuing to skew older. Further, Americans are in worse physical shape than ever before. However, with ergonomic equipment and solutions in place, these workers can maintain a high degree of productivity while significantly reducing the risk of musculoskeletal injuries that can lead to Worker’s Compensation costs.
For that reason, EASE Council members work together to raise awareness of and promote the solutions that make work easier for people by improving their work environment. Members represent more than 50 different ergonomic technologies, including: adjustable worker elevation platforms, balancers, containers tilters, lift tables, manipulators, pallet rotators, stackers, vacuum lift assist devices, platform trucks, carts, flooring technologies, workstation cranes, casters, wheels, and intelligent lift assist devices.
“Given the labor challenges companies in supply chains are currently facing, it’s more important than ever for operations to protect their employees and ensure that they understand how to most safely move and lift loads,” explained Rob Beightol, Director of Marketing at Gorbel. A contributor to both videos, Beightol added that his company has participated EASE for several decades as a means “to spread awareness and educate as many people as possible about ergonomics and the equipment that can be used to improve it.”
As the definitive source for industrial ergonomic equipment solutions, EASE Council members provide resources, training courses, articles, checklists, webinars, podcasts, and technical papers for owners and operators of warehouses, distribution centers, and manufacturing facilities. They also serve as resources for each other.
“The biggest benefit of being an EASE member is access to the expertise on the Council, and the knowledge we gain from it,” noted Scott Lackey, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Blickle USA Wheels and Casters, who is featured in both EASE Council videos. “If a customer presents us with a challenge we haven’t seen before, we can reach out to the other members for feedback and recommendations about different ways to solve their problem.”
Also participating in both videos is current EASE Council Chairperson Amy Blueter, Vice President of Operations for Kinetic Technologies (K-Tec). She agreed that the collaborative nature of the industry group is part of what makes it so impactful within the supply chain and material handling fields.
“EASE Council members are all working towards a common goal of helping others improve their workplaces through advanced ergonomics,” said Blueter. “One of the best benefits of EASE membership is the camaraderie and the group’s dedication to fixing and helping shape ergonomics for others.”
To that end, the EASE Council develops and distributes a variety of materials throughout the academic, governmental, and industrial communities regarding solutions that address ergonomic challenges and improve work tasks. Among the group’s most downloaded resources is the free “Ergonomic Guidelines for Manual Material Handling.” The publication was developed in conjunction with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA). It helps supervisors and managers recognize high-risk manual material handling work tasks and choose effective options for reducing their physical demands.
Additionally, the EASE Council frequently exhibits as a group at ergonomics and safety tradeshows and expositions, including presenting a free on-floor educational seminar at ProMat 2023. The session will feature a discussion panel comprised of professional ergonomists who will share the latest developments in ergonomic technologies. They will also answer questions from attendees and share their insights and expertise into the different approaches for improving worker ergonomics.
The videos also pay tribute to previous EASE Council Chairperson Jim Galante, who passed away unexpectedly at the end of 2021. Galante chaired the industry group for more than 16 years, calling it “a labor of love.” Passionate about the field of ergonomics and the EASE Council, he noted in the video: “It’s very enjoyable work because I get to work with a lot of wonderful companies that are making and building and designing equipment to make life better for a lot of people.”
Interested in joining the EASE Council to help raise awareness about the importance and benefits of ergonomics within the workplace? More information — including a membership application — is available on the industry group’s website. Learn more about EASE.