Managing a safe and productive workplace is a top priority for any business. Within a warehouse or fulfillment center for retailers, e-commerce businesses and third-party logistics providers, the challenges associated with the job also involve the potential for physical injuries. Whether operating heavy machinery or picking and packing items for shipping, workers should be well equipped and educated in workplace safety protocols. Warehouse managers should also examine the layouts and equipment of their workplaces to improve the ergonomics of the environment.
What are the most common workplace injuries?
Musculo-skeletal injuries and strain from overexertion
Overexertion can happen through repeated stressful movements over time, such as manually moving boxes, wrapping objects, or even remaining in unnatural body positions due to cramped or poorly spaced working environments.
Overexertion can also be caused by attempting to move or force interaction with objects that are heavy or unwieldy, leading to a sudden injury.
- Development of a pack space excellence program, where packing spaces are updated with more efficient layouts using easier to manipulate solutions, helping minimize the motions and exertions of packers on a line.
- Use of appropriate tools for moving heavy or unwieldy objects.
- Development of ergonomic working stations.
Learn more about Workplace Ergonomics
Slips, trips, falls, and collisions
When the workplace is poorly organized it can become difficult to navigate and properly move and store items. That can lead to accidents where objects fall on people, or they lose their own footing. In situations where there is poor visibility, slippery surfaces, or differences in the height of ground, like loading docks, the danger of these accidents is greater.
- Make sure that high traffic areas are clean, well-lit, and clutter free.
- Make sure that items stored within the warehouse and packing areas are secured and stored properly to avoid falling objects.
- Designate clear storage areas for tools and other workplace items.
- Integrate essential machinery into the workspace so that it takes up less space.
Forklift and machinery accidents
One of the most dangerous pieces of equipment in the warehouse is the forklift, used to lift and move pallets laden with goods and materials. This piece of heavy machinery is responsible for multiple deaths every year. Other heavy machinery within the warehouse can also pose a danger, and proper training should accompany environmental factors such as clearly delineated signage for operating areas. While the forklift stands out as a common and potentially dangerous piece of equipment, proper training is a requirement for any machinery used on the job.
- Evaluate new equipment purchases using safety as a sourcing metric.
- Training and certification for all operators of forklifts or other potentially dangerous machinery.
- Supervision of learners or less experienced operators.
- Clear safety markings within and around areas of operation.
- Regular inspection and maintenance of machinery and equipment.