Distribution Ergonomics Research Center created at Ohio State

MHIA's funding of research yields development of center to help reduce risk of injury and increase productivity of distribution center employees

By ·

The Material Handling Industry of America’s (MHIA) first-ever direct funding of material handling and logistics research has resulted in the development of a Distribution Ergonomics Research Center (DERC) at Ohio State University (OSU). The research grant is provided by MHIA through its College Industry Council on Material Handling Education (CICMHE).

Carolyn Sommerich and Stephen Lavender of OSU established the DERC using the $50,000 grant to develop and evaluate ergonomic interventions (methods, tools, equipment, processes, etc.) that will allow distribution center workers to work more efficiently and safely. The long term objective is to address common ergonomic issues that exist across distribution center operations within three commodity sectors: Grocery, Apparel, and General Merchandise.

As part of this project, OSU conducted focus groups with managers and safety personnel from distribution organizations in the Midwest and Eastern portions of the country. Organizations indicated which ergonomic issues were most important to them such as reaching, lifting, and repetitive motions. Possible interventions (process changes and equipment) were then identified by the study organizations as well as industry organizations providing ergonomic solutions.

Results of the research shows that there are a number of intervention opportunities available to distribution centers that can be used to address existing ergonomic issues that are common within and across distribution commodity sectors. The intervention concepts developed by the study organizations can help reduce the biomechanical loads experienced by DC employees, thereby reducing their risk of injury and potentially allowing DC employees to be more productive.

“MHIA is proud to support this important research which will contribute significantly to the body of knowledge on ways to improve the safety and productivity of warehouses and distribution centers,” says Daniel Quinn, Material Handling Industry Vice Chairman - Education Planning & Professional Development.


Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
Mobile Solutions: Improving Supply Chain Efficiencies
To meet customer's ever-increasing service expectations and improve their business efficiency, companies are looking to their supply chain operations – especially material handling and warehouse operations managers.
Download Today!
From the February 2017 Modern Materials Handling Issue
In warehouses and DCs, planning solutions tend to take a back seat to execution system functions. Vendors are working to boost the trust factor using tools that break down forecasts and blend with analytics.
Automated Storage on the Move
Receiving 101: Setting the Table for Success
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
2016 Warehouse/DC Operations Webcast: Confronting omni-channel complexity
During this webcast we’ll examine the current activities, trends, and best practices in warehouse and DC operations management and how companies plan to address complex issues associate with omni-channel fulfillment.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Johnson & Johnson: A vision for automation
J&J Vision Care brings together a variety of automated technologies, including an innovative...
Using AGVs at LEDVANCE
The lighting manufacturer reaped savings by reducing maintenance costs and product damage, and using...

System Report: Sustainable Distribution at REI
Specialty outdoor retailer REI’s new distribution center brings together the next generation of...
System Report: Whirlpool puts mobile robots to work
In Whirlpool Corp.’s Clyde, Ohio, factory, mobile robots have automated the delivery of parts to...