One of the most common injuries workers are likely to suffer in a warehouse is related to their backs. This is a job that carries with it a lot of wear and tear, and often your employees' backs will bear the brunt of it (along with their knees and other joints). As such, you need to be able to plan for how you can reduce that problem, even if you can't eliminate it.
The following tips should help you prepare your workers for safer lifting and carrying practices:
1) Prioritize the right lifting and carrying techniques
Poor lifting and carrying form is almost certainly going to be your company's No. 1 cause of back pain and injuries, according to HTSS, Inc. At the very least, workers should be bending at the knees to pick up anything of any significant weight, and also making sure they carry any items higher up their torso rather than down near their hips. Finally, it's vital to avoid twisting their backs while lifting or carrying heavy items. It all causes undue strain.
2) Mandate stretching before shifts — and during them
Your workers should have ample opportunity to limber up for their shifts, as stretching can go a long way toward "warming up" the muscles, HTSS, Inc., added. Likewise, if they start to feel things tightening up during their shifts, they should be able to take the time to stretch properly so they're not compounding risk.
3) Provide breaks as needed
Indeed, it's critical for workers to be able to get rest throughout their shifts so they're not taking on too much, according to Newcastle Systems. Especially if they're feeling like their back is giving out, they should have the flexibility in their schedules to just take breaks whenever necessary.
4) Require better shoes
Often, back pain is caused when people's musculoskeletal systems don't have the support they need, Newcastle Systems said. With that in mind, a good, sturdy pair of boots or work shoes with the right amount of support are always going to perform better in warehouse settings them sneakers. Make sure workers know that and act accordingly.
5) Encourage better posture
When people have poor posture, it puts undue strain on their backs, Newcastle Systems further warned. As such, encourage your workers to sit or stand up straight throughout the day and they'll be in better shape to keep doing their jobs.
6) Start storing heavier objects on higher shelves
As mentioned, many back injuries happen when workers bend down and lift heavy objects, so you can take that decision out of their hands, according to DJ Products. Storing heavier items on shelves that are at hip or chest level can be a great idea for any facility.
7) Use heavy machinery to assist
Finally, if carrying items isn't possible, your employees should have the option of loading up a dolly, pallet jack or even forklift to do the heavy lifting, DJ Products advised. Always keep a few of these items around so your employees are properly equipped.