Incorrect Lifting Techniques

Over the past few years, a lot more attention has been paid to ergonomics in the workplace in order to increase employee health and productivity – but there’s a lot more that goes into it than just buying more comfortable office chairs.

Ergonomics affects everything a worker does with their body through the day, ranging from sitting down to fill out paperwork to reaching to place something on a high shelf to moving packages through the warehouse, involves ergonomics. If your shelves are too high, or if your workstations aren’t designed to accommodate a range of work and motion, or a number of other issues, your workers could become more prone to accident and injury due to a lack of ergonomics in their day-to-day activities.

It might sound a little daunting to have to check your entire warehouse for proper ergonomics, but you don’t have to let it get overwhelming. Here’s a few quick starter points to get you on the way to providing a more ergonomic and safe environment for your workers:

Adjust your storage to an appropriate height. It’s an obvious one, but it’s the best place to start (and one of the more common ergonomic issues a worker will face). Make sure all of your warehouse storage is set to an appropriate height to benefit the bulk of your workers, and do the same for things like wire shelves and pallet racks to ensure consistent ergonomics across the board. (Make sure to adjust down as well as up, too – some racks and shelves work better when they’re set lower, so don’t make the mistake of thinking that ergonomics simply involves raising shelves and desks.)

Teach proper lifting techniques. Proper ergonomics goes above and beyond the sort of equipment you use – the methods your workers use to get things done are a huge part of ergonomics and worker safety as well. Nobody likes these meetings, but take some time to sit the crew down and go over proper item lifting and moving techniques (remember to lift with the legs, everyone!) to make sure they’re getting work done in a way that won’t contribute to strain or injuries.

Provide the right equipment through the entire warehouse. Ergonomics can come into play even when your workers aren’t currently moving product through the warehouse. Make sure all staircases are equipped with safety railings and go up at a steady incline to reduce strain on ankles and legs, use adjustable workstations in your offices and shipping areas to meet workers at their level, and even in things like break rooms and lounge areas, make sure you provide comfortable and ergonomically-designed furniture; you’d be surprised how many warehouse injuries are exacerbated by uncomfortable break room chairs.

Streamline tasks. Many injuries and muscle strains in the workplace are caused by certain procedures being overcomplicated. Review your processes and see where steps can be removed and tasks can be streamlined – using a forklift to retrieve items that a human used to have to, or lengthy carry distances that can be fixed with gravity conveyors to save time and effort from your workers.

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