While warehouses can generally operate quite safely on an ongoing basis, even one mishap can be enough to derail a strong safety record. For that reason, warehouse managers need to constantly evaluate risk of not only major accidents, but also the little things that can lead to injuries. Having just one worker sidelined for a short period of time can create some serious efficiency issues for your operation, so any efforts to reduce these concerns are vital.
The following steps should help you get a better handle on cutting into worker injury concerns:
1) Make sure workers have access to lifting equipment
One of the biggest causes of worker injuries in warehouses comes because of improper lifting and carrying techniques, according to EHS Today. While there is certainly a right way to deal with heavy objects, it may not feel like the most natural way and, in the heat of a busy day on the job, workers may not adhere to those standards. As such, you should take the risk out of it and provide plenty of dollies, pallet jacks, forklifts and so on to help workers move heavy items without that added injury risk.
2) Reduce the need to twist, stretch or bend
Along similar lines, you need to keep in mind that injuries happen when workers move their bodies in unnatural ways, and making your facility more ergonomic is a must, EHS Today added. That means ensuring workers aren't doing as much reaching for high shelves, bending to low ones and otherwise contorting their bodies in ways that puts strain on their musculoskeletal systems.
3) Store items on shelves securely
Another major injury risk in warehouses is items placed improperly on platforms, as this makes them more likely to fall in certain situations, according to F. Curtis Barry & Company. For that reason, you need to impress upon all employees the importance of resting items on shelves so they are not too close to the edge or have their centers of mass more toward the middle of the shelf.
4) Keep the floors clear on an ongoing basis
Slip-and-fall accidents are all too common in many business environments and warehouses are certainly among them, F. Curtis Barry & Company noted. As a consequence, you must do what you can at every level of your organization to make sure floors are clear of debris or liquids that could lead workers to slip or stumble - and that includes not just your warehouse, but also parking lots, sidewalks and other parts of your facility.
5) Train regularly on proper techniques
It's not always easy to get everyone on the same page when it comes to proper techniques for avoiding injury, according to Enjuris. Consequently, holding regular training sessions to highlight proper techniques for everything from lifting and carrying heavy items to how to safely behave around forklifts and other equipment will help ensure a more uniform approach to warehouse safety.