Liberty Mutual released its annual Top 10 Causes of Disabling Injuries report.
And, while it doesn’t specifically study warehouses only, the injuries certainly apply.
So, take a look at the leading reasons for injuries. And then learn what you can do to prevent them:
1. Handling Objects
Yep. The very reason you have warehouse workers in the first place is the leading cause of injuries to them.
But, someone needs to do this work. We don’t have robots available to do it all for us.
What could be the underlying issue at play?
It may be a focus on speed. A recent report by the Strategic Organizing Center, a coalition of labor unions, shows that Amazon workers experience an 80% higher injury rate than the typical warehouse worker.
And they also tend to experience more injuries.
So what can be done?
Both you and your employees have a responsibility here. You need to encourage breaks and give your workers time off.
While speed is important, you can’t make it happen at the cost of your warehouse team’s physical health. Otherwise, you won’t have people available to do the work.
At the same time, they need to stay in decent physical shape. Part of Amazon’s response to warehouse injuries has been to teach their warehouse workers to think of themselves as “industrial athletes.”
Basically, the point was warehouse workers need to stay in decent physical condition as a general lifestyle to help reduce their risk of injury.
This appears to be a complex issue. And it may require a high degree of analysis and innovation at your warehouse.
2. Falls on the Same Level
Coming in second place according to the Liberty Mutual report, and this was a reasonably close second place, are falls on the same level.
Fortunately, the solution to these may be less complex.
Part of the problem can be employee fatigue and diminished ability to concentrate. So that’s why you work your team reasonable hours and give them plenty of break time during the day.
And of course, you’ll have to implement a system for quickly catching potential hazards and notifying your employees about them.
Employees need to have adequate time to learn and do their job. They need regular training on how to prevent falls. And you should have a dress code which includes showing employees how to inspect their footwear for proper tread so they don’t fall.
You should also let your employees be your eyes and ears when out on the floor. A small management team simply cannot oversee things as well as a large team of warehouse workers.
So encourage employees to speak up. And perhaps create a reward system for meeting workplace safety goals.
There’s plenty more to warehouse safety. But that’s all the time and space we have for today.
However, you still have plenty of info and action steps you can take to reduce warehouse injuries and increase productivity.