When you talk to your employees about workplace safety, you focus on larger, more sudden accidents, such as falling or getting crushed by equipment. But a back injury is another debilitating accident that is far more common.
Because workers put pressure on their backs day after day, they can experience severe pain that prevents them from working. Back pain reduces employee satisfaction in the workplace, decreases your business’s productivity, and lowers revenue.
To lower the risk of back pain and to keep your employees healthy and confident in the workplace, implement the following strategies.
1. Design Your Warehouse Ergonomically
The best way to prevent back pain is to redesign your warehouse with your employees’ back health in mind. In other words, the organization of your equipment should reduce your employees’ need to bend over, lift, and twist their backs.
Try some of these solutions:
- Place objects that employees often use on shelves at height-level. Workers shouldn’t have to bend or reach to retrieve these objects. Place work tables at height-level as well.
- Install diverters on conveyor belts. Diverters direct objects directly to workers so they don’t have to reach to retrieve them.
- In pallet loading areas, incorporate platforms and pallet lifts. These mechanisms bring pallets to their necessary height, which prevents workers from doing all the lifting work.
Queen City Material Handling Equipment can help you redesign your warehouse with these solutions in mind.
2. Incorporate Lifting Equipment
With improved lifting equipment, your employees can outsource the heavy lifting to efficient machines. Consider adding more lifting equipment throughout your warehouse, such as the following:
- Moving dolly-allows employees to push heavy items, including several boxes at once
- Scissor lift-lifts equipment to higher shelves mechanically
- Forklift-lifts and carries heavy loads throughout the warehouse
- Pallet jack-allows employees to transport pallets by loading and pushing the pallet jack
- Conveyor belt–moves objects automatically from one area to another
This equipment reduces the physical stress on your employees and also helps your business run more efficiently. Queen City Material Handling Equipment can help you add any of these solutions to your warehouse.
3. Implement Health-Friendly Policies
You can prevent workers’ back pain by incorporating a job rotation system. By rotating between tasks throughout the warehouse, workers use different muscle groups. Thus, they’re less likely to over-stress one group of muscles.
Make sure workers get regular breaks as well. With so much physical labor, a couple of scheduled breaks may not be enough. One option is to hire floaters. Floaters move throughout the warehouse to relieve workers and give them a short break.
4. Train Employees to Lift Correctly
When employees incorrectly lift boxes and other equipment, they cause unnecessary stress on their backs. Make sure your employees don’t lead with their backs as they lift. Encourage your employees to lift using these steps:
- Squat down with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- As you lift an item, keep your shoulders back and your chest out.
- Straighten your hips and knees while keeping your back in the same position. Keep the item close to your body.
- Align your shoulders with your hips as you walk forward.
- To put the item down, squat again at the hips and knees.
Train employees on proper lifting techniques as they’re hired. You should also hold regular review sessions for the entire team.
Unfortunately, many warehouses don’t design their equipment and processes with their employees’ health in mind. A few simple equipment and policy changes can help employees work safely and can reduce injury risk.
Use these solutions to prevent back pain and injuries in your workplace and promote a safer work environment for your employees.