Warehouse work is integral to many businesses, ensuring that goods get from point A to point B efficiently. In Washington, a hub for commerce and trade, warehouses are a common sight, employing thousands of individuals.
However, with the demands of heavy lifting, repetitive tasks and navigating large spaces filled with hazards, warehouse workers often face a heightened risk of injuries. While these workspaces are critical, understanding the common injuries associated with them can empower you to take precautions and maintain safety.
Slips, trips and falls
Smooth concrete floors and numerous items lying around can lead to slipping or tripping hazards in warehouses. Spilled liquids, electrical cords or uneven floor surfaces often cause workers to slip or trip, leading to injuries. Proper footwear and vigilance can help reduce the chances of such accidents.
Frequent lifting, bending and carrying heavy objects put warehouse workers at risk for muscle strains, especially in the back and neck areas. Using proper lifting techniques and ensuring that you are not over-exerting yourself can help in avoiding these strains.
OSHA reports that over 34,000 serious forklift accidents happen every year. While forklifts are essential for moving heavy goods in a warehouse, they can also pose a danger if not operated correctly or if pedestrians in the warehouse do not remain aware of their movements. Always adhere to safety guidelines when operating or working around these machines.
Items stored on high shelves can fall and injure workers below. It is important to ensure that you store goods securely. If you are working under or near shelving units, always wear protective headgear and be aware of your surroundings.
Repetitive stress injuries
Repeating the same movements day in and day out can result in injuries over time. These can range from carpal tunnel syndrome due to constant scanning of items to tendonitis from repeated lifting. Regular breaks and ergonomic equipment can reduce the risk of these injuries.
Cuts and abrasions
Handling boxes, machinery and other equipment can sometimes result in cuts or abrasions. Using protective gloves and handling items with care can prevent these minor, yet painful, injuries.
When you know the most common injuries faced by warehouse workers and adopt preventative measures, you can ensure a safer work environment for yourself and your colleagues. Remember, safety should always be a priority, no matter the urgency of the task at hand.