• Kristin Thompson

Stay The Distance: Physical Distancing in an Industrial Environment



Covid-19 has created difficulty across every industry. Many businesses are struggling to survive, some even closing their doors for good due to the economic strain put on their company. Others have remained in operation, but with limited employees and stringent health mandates in place. The construction and manufacturing industries are likewise facing their own operational predicament brought on by the pandemic. How do you safely physically distance when the work demands close proximity?

One answer to this frustrating question may lie in a facility’s operational layout. The introduction of Gorbel workstation cranes and/or jib cranes to a shop floor will not only increase the physical distance between workers but also cause an upturn in daily productivity. Since both workstation and jib cranes are designed for work cells with single or few operators, this would allow one or two workers to manage an area that would usually require many more bodies to function, thus markedly decreasing the risk of viral transmission.


Workstation Cranes

Available in both freestanding and ceiling mounted varieties, Gorbel workstation cranes can provide up to a 34’ bridge span and any runway length. This would provide thousands of square feet for each employee to work under.

Both configurations support capacities up to 4000lbs and standard support distances from 6, 20, 25, and 30 feet.


Jib Cranes

Depending on a facility's size and processes, multiple work cells may be required. In this instance, Gorbel jib cranes can provide functionality in greater concentration while still adhering to proper proximity mandates.

Gorbel jibs come in a diverse range of styles including freestanding, wall-mounted, bracket-mounted, and mast type, each with its own set of unique properties appropriate for a range of building layouts and engineering. With spans up to 30’ and rotations between 200°-360°, each style of Gorbel jib can maintain capacities up to 10,000 lbs.


When we see an end to the coronavirus pandemic and a business's production needs change, both Gorbel workstation cranes and non-foundational jibs can easily be relocated to different work areas, locations, and sites. Thus, continuing to be a valuable and flexible piece of equipment.



Cost vs. Value

According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, the estimated number of small and medium-sized business closures in Canada due to Covid-19 is between 5% to 19% with Alberta at the highest risk compared to the average with almost one in five actively considering bankruptcy or complete shutdown. There is no arguing that the addition of workstation and jib cranes comes with a financial investment, however, with the possibility of further health restrictions and mandates as we journey through this global situation, the cost of upgrading vastly outweighs a complete or even temporary shutdown of a facility.

Distancing is difficult; however, business must persevere through these trying times, or in other words, stay the distance.