Part Two: Handling Silica Dust

In part one of this two-part series, we ran through the occupations and facilities that are most likely to involve exposure to silica dust- the potentially dangerous by-product of crushing, drilling or cutting concrete and other materials.  Long-term exposure to silica dust can cause serious and sometimes fatal lung conditions and you should read that blog before you read this one.

OSHA has released new regulations surrounding the management of silica dust and the businesses’ responsibility to keep their employees safe and manage their exposure to silica dust. Regulations take effect on June 23, 2018, and if you haven’t started preparing for them already, you’re probably behind.

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Part One: Handling Silica Dust

These next two blog entries may, or may not, apply to the work your facility does – but it’s really important on several levels so it’s worth spending the time on.

Federal regulations about the handling of silica dust in the workplace are changing, and if you haven’t already, you’re going to need to adjust quickly.

Silica dust is produced when you crush, cut, grind, drill into, or blast concrete, dust, and rock. Its crystalline particles can get into a person’s lungs and cause serious, and sometimes fatal conditions.

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Tax Cuts and your Forklift Fleet

Plenty of questions these days about the tax cut recently signed into law by the current administration. While it hasn’t been without controversy, it’s good news for industries that move heave materials.

One of the purposes of the bill is to increase business investments. Forklifts are among the types of capital investments, along with computer systems, cranes and other heavy equipment that businesses can spend money on now and receive a tax break later.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act provides an opportunity for businesses to immediately expense the cost of capital equipment purchased and put into service before January 1, 2023. The ability to fully expense purchases rather than amortizing the equipment over a long period of time lessens the long-term financial cost of buying new equipment.
Effectively, the bill reduces the tax burden in the first year of a forklift’s tenure with your business, freeing up cash to reinvest in your business.

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Robotic Forklifts

As time marches forward, technology eventually catches up with every business- and the materials handling industry is no different. The latest trend is an underlying debate over so-called” robotic” forklifts.

More popular at the moment in Europe, these robotic forklifts do offer some advantages, but at this point- as we’ll see here- the potential pitfalls are outweighing the positives.

Mostly used in horizontal applications like order-picking and transportation of materials, the robotic lifts navigate using a complex system of lasers, reflectors, magnets and wires embedded in the facility to dictate their routes.

Some facilities with multiple units have seen some traffic issues as their robotic forklifts attempt to pass each other in tight aisles. This would mean many warehouses would have to redesign their facilities to create wider passage.

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