In most warehouses, accident prevention is a huge focus. However, warehouse ergonomics are often overlooked. Poor ergonomics in a warehouse can cause workers to become fatigued, increasing the chances of errors and injuries and reducing productivity. Yet, with just a few simple ergonomic improvements you could save thousands of dollars a year, that would otherwise be spent on workers compensation and productivity losses.
Listed below are a few simple ways to improve your warehouse ergonomics in order to increase the productivity of your team and reduce the risk of workplace injuries.
Adjust Your Storage To The Appropriate Height
One of the most common ergonomic issues warehouse workers are facing is inappropriate shelf height. If your shelves are too low or too high your workers will be at higher risk of accidents and injuries caused by poor ergonomics.
The general rule when it comes to lifting and picking in warehouses is to keep the load between your knees and shoulders if possible. And for heavier items, the load should be kept between knuckle and elbow height. However, this can be very difficult if the shelves on the storage system have been installed too high or too low.
Luckily, MACRACK manufactures highly customised industrial shelving solutions with easily adjustable shelves. Click here for more information on how MACRACK can design and build the perfect storage solution for your warehouse.
Teach and Use Proper Lifting Techniques
Poor ergonomics not only refers to the storage and picking equipment used in your warehouse. In fact, the manual handling techniques used by your workers are a huge part of your warehouse ergonomics. That’s why it’s extremely important to ensure that all of your workers are trained to use proper lifting techniques, keeping items close to the body and lifting with their legs rather than their backs.
Simply training and reinforcing these lifting techniques will reduce the risk of strain or injuries from lifting and improve your warehouse ergonomics.
Provide Assisting Equipment
Another way to improve the ergonomics of your warehouse is to provide mechanical equipment to assist in lifting and transporting items throughout the warehouse such as scissor lifts, walkie stackers, conveyors etc. Providing ladders, steps and platforms will also help to improve your warehouse ergonomics as they allow workers to keep loads between knee and elbow height, even when picking from a higher shelf.
Ergonomically designed furniture should be used in offices and break rooms as badly designed furniture can not only exacerbate existing injuries, simply sitting in a poorly designed chair all day is enough to cause an injury. Additionally, replacing tables and benches with adjustable workstations will reduce back strain from bending over to fill out shipping forms and other paperwork.
Enforce Regular Breaks
When there is a huge backlog of orders to pick or pallets to breakdown workers may be tempted to skip their breaks in order to get the job done. However, fatigued workers are much more likely to make errors that could lead to injuries. So, for a healthier, more efficient workforce it is important to enforce regular breaks.
Observe Your Workers
If you’re looking to improve the ergonomics in your warehouse you will need to observe your workers. Walk the shop floor and take note of repetitive movement or problem areas where workers are constantly having to stoop or reach to access items. Look for awkward postures and revise the processes that are causing them. Finally, examine your records of workplace injuries and workers compensation and address any poor ergonomics that may have caused those incidents.