Industrial ergonomics can boost safety in any workplace, but for jobs that involve a lot of material handling, it is an absolute necessity. Without a well-developed ergonomics program, material-handling workers face an increased risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders.
Wineries have significant material-handling challenges at every step of the production process. Worse, the specific material-handling tasks vary throughout. In the field, users need rugged-terrain lift trucks that can lift and transport full harvest bins. Then, at the plant, staff needs some way to empty full bins — sometimes loaded with 1,000 pounds of fruit, or more — onto sorting tables.
It isn’t easy to obtain organic wine certification from the USDA. Just to illustrate the challenge, let’s look at a few statistics, courtesy of Wines&Vines magazine: While U.S.-made organic wine only made up 1 percent of sales by volume and 2 percent by value in 2017, European organic wine sales grew by between 10 and 20 percent from 2013 to 2016. Why this disparity?
There’s plenty of work to go around at a commercial composting facility. At a time when skilled work is hard to find, that creates staffing challenges for every compost producer. Besides, workers with skill and expertise in the day-to-day tasks of an industrial composting operation are rare in any labor market.
The success of a commercial composting operation rests on the ability to efficiently handle bulk materials. We know from studies of more conventional manufacturing facilities that material handling can contribute between 15 and 70 percent of operating costs — and it seems likely that composters will find themselves closer to the higher limit than the lower.
Between the holidays of Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, households produce an average of 25 percent more waste than at any other time of the year. Every week during the holiday season, we add 1 million tons of waste to the nation’s landfills. Clearly, municipalities and environmental agencies haven’t yet educated individuals in their communities on how to reduce waste, whether through diversion to recycling or composting operations or, better yet, reducing the volume of generated garbage in the first place.