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Workplace Safety versus Productivity in Material Handling

One of the greatest challenges in any industrial manufacturing is balancing workplace safety versus productivity. Material handling is a critical function in any manufacturing plant or distribution facility. It is also a primary contributor to production rates, while also being a leading cause of injuries.
Ultimately, people are the most important asset of any workplace, and organizations need to protect them. Therefore, it is logical to view safety as more important than productivity, especially when factoring in legal and ethical factors. However, there is a way to ensure both.

Material Handling Injuries Cost Over $26 Billion Annually

Workplace injuries cost U.S. businesses more than $1 billion a week, according to Liberty Mutual’s 2021 Workplace Safety Index: the top 10 causes of disabling injuries. The top 10 causes of workplace injury cost US businesses over $58 billion in 2021.

Five of the top 10 Injuries are common in manufacturing and distribution facilities, these injuries alone cost $26.54 billion of.

  • Overexertion was the most common injury with a total cost of $13.3 billion in 2021
  • Being struck by object or equipment cost, $5.61 billion
  • Motorized land vehicle crashes, $3.16 billion
  • Being struck by, caught in, or compressed by, equipment or objects had a combined total of $4.47 billion

Material Handling equipment such as forklifts are a major contributor to these injuries. According to OSHA, every year

  • Almost 1oo people are killed by a forklift accident
  • Over 30,000 people are SERIOUSLY injured
  • Over 60,000 non-serious injuries occur

These numbers break down to an average of about 600 serious injuries and 1,200 non-serious injuries per week. When employees feel valued and protected, it really shows in the quality of their work. All in all, safety is good for business. And a safe workplace generates more than financial rewards, it also reduces absenteeism and turnover, increases productivity and quality, and improves employee morale.

Improve Productivity while Reducing Safety Risks with HALO

The HALO Drive System is a retrofittable motorized drive system with omnidirectional mobility designed to increase maneuverability, decrease process times, and reduce related injuries. The Halo Drive System replaces the need for overhead cranes in the work environment, thus reducing the numerous safety issues associated with cranes.  In addition, cranes require an installation process, can be very costly to expand capacity, and require a great deal of training to operate.  With the HALO Drive System, there is no installation process, it is easy to expand capacity, and simple to use with minimal training needed.

An important addition to the manufacturing floor

The HALO Drive System is an important addition to the manufacturing floor for many reasons, from both a safety and a productivity standpoint.  Heavy loads of material, up to 40k lbs., can be loaded onto the bed of the HALO Drive Cart and can safely be transported to their desired location.  With the precise omnidirectional mobility the HALO Drive System offers, numerous locations can have different specific angles, positions, and varying heights.

The HALO Drive System also reduces the number of workers needed, which also decreases the chance for injuries. HALO is easily managed by one person operating the hand controller and another verifying a clear path for movement.  After checking the intended path of the system for clearance, the battery charge is observed and then the system is ready for motion.  The simplicity of operation greatly reduces the required crew size.

This simplicity also increases the safety conditions within the workplace.  Employees are no longer injuring themselves by attempting to lift and transport loads above their capabilities.

What is more important productivity or safety?

Plant managers often feel that productivity pulls them in one direction while safety pushes them in the other. These two objectives seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum. It can be argued that businesses need to view safety and productivity as goals to achieve together, rather than ‘safety first’ after productivity. When safety improves, so does productivity. In fact, each priority feeds the other in various ways. Studies have shown that the health and safety of employees are key to achieving an organization’s desired productivity and efficiency.

With the HALO Drive System’s omnidirectional capabilities, you can achieve both.

The result is overall improvement in safety, productivity and even quality. We help increase productivity while improving safety with innovative motor-powered Drive Systems that do not require certification or advanced skills to operate. These systems offer numerous safety options, as well as options to improve processes, and increase productivity. Visit the Drive Systems page to learn more. (



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