18 Apr 2019
Safety around the warehouse or storage area isn’t just important – it’s vital. Safety should be the number one priority among all employers and employees, no matter whether they’re on the shop floor or management in the offices. With so much focus on accident prevention, fatigue and strain prevention may go overlooked. Fatigue and strain in manual handling situations is common – especially in hands, arms, back, and the torso.
There are some minor adjustments you can make to your warehouse to reduce strains by using more ergonomic racking and giving employees training in proper ergonomic techniques. Here are some suggestions to enhance ergonomics in your warehouse.
Automation to speed up repetitive tasks is not only good for efficiency, but good for reducing strains such as repetitive strain injury (RSI) or carpal tunnel syndrome. Automation such as powered conveyor belts or gravity conveyors for transporting containers or boxes to fulfillment workstations or using inventory slotting tools to pick and pack SKUs can not only reduce manual handling, but the time spent on finding individual items.
Pictured: STURGO® Flex Gravity Conveyor
Adjust Storage to Ergonomic Heights
Mismatched shelf heights can cause many strains in backs and shoulders as workers either bend unnaturally to pick items that are too high or too low. This not only heightens strains, but also endangers worker safety if items are shelved too high, as they may fall down and injure those working below. Workers should be able to lift or pick items that are between knee and elbow height. This can be relieved by installing adjustable shelving, which can greatly ease strains and enhance productivity.
Pictured: WERKS® Cleanspan Shelving - Mobile
Training In Proper Lift and Handling Techniques
Ergonomics covers all facets of manual handling, including proper lift and handling techniques. Your warehouse should hold regular training days for proper lifting methods such as keeping loads close to the body and lifting using one’s legs instead of baring the load on one’s arms or back. Reinforcement through training and vigilance can help prevent strains and injuries from occurring.
Provide Assistance Equipment
Manual lifting equipment such as mobile workbenches, walkie-stackers, conveyors, scissor lifts and other helpful tools can also reduce the amount of work days lost to strains and recovery. Even simple tools such as ladders, steps, and platforms can also help keep loads and shelves between elbow and knee height. Badly designed furniture can also cause injury – repetitive sitting and standing can be mitigated using a sit-stand chair instead.
Pictured: Sit Stand Chairs
Make Sure Workers Are Rested
A happy worker is a productive worker – so regular breaks should be mandatory at all warehouses. Though there is a temptation to skip breaks if large orders need fulfilling, this can lead to fatigue and further errors or injuries on the line. Despite losing man-hours in the short term, it can recoup them later on in more productivity and fewer reports of injuries.
To enhance your warehouse ergonomics using adjustable racking, automation, walkie stackers and more, talk to the team at Backsafe Australia for all your manual handling needs.
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