Overexertion is a massive risk for warehouse management. According to the NSC, over 35,000 overexertion injurieshappened in warehouses in 2014. Overexertion costs thousands of lost work hours. The good news is overexertion is a preventable cost. There are a few simple tools and processes that you can use to minimize this risk and maximize uptime.
Every job benefits from the proper equipment. Warehouse management is no exception. Depending on the flow of your particular inventory space, a variety of important pieces of equipment should be considered. For example, if you manage delicate equipment — such as electronics or sensitive but heavy components — you might consider suspension casters as an option to reduce both over-exertion and damaged inventory risks. Hand-trucks, forklifts, and other similar machines are equally important.
A controversial piece of equipment is the back brace. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has surveyed and conducted a number of studies on the effectiveness of back belts. Unfortunately, these studies were inconclusive at best. NIOSH was unable to find a solid link between back belts and reduced overexertion risk. Their recommendation was: instead of relying on back braces, focus on proper training and other support equipment.
Proper equipment is relatively useless without the proper training. Warehouse managers should ensure that new hires are adequately trained in proper weight management. Proper lifting techniques, such as lifting from the knees instead of the back, as well as a willingness to use equipment rather than showing off will help reduce overexertion risks. The attitude of a warehouse employee should tend toward a proper approximation of capabilities, not one of arrogance. Regular refresher training course can help reduce the risk that employees will lose good safety habits.
Warehouse injuries, particularly overexertion injuries, are largely preventable. Utilizing these three keys will help change your warehouse into an accident free environment.