The importance of ergonomics in the warehouse

In the warehouse, ergonomics is about the relationship workers have with their environment and the equipment they use. In the following sections, we’ll explore the important of ergonomics and the factors that need to be considered.

Why is ergonomics so important?

There are many injury risks in the warehouse. Manual handling can cause musculoskeletal injuries, and items can fall from shelves and hit workers. There is also the danger of collision from forklifts. Ergonomics looks at how workers can better interact with warehouse equipment to minimise injury risks.

Height

There is no standard height for warehouse workers. Short and very tall people all need to be able to work safely with equipment. Adjustable height packing tables are suitable for all heights. Picking trolleys should be easily pushed or pulled by all staff.

If an extremely tall or very short person is employed in a warehouse, picking trolleys can be supplied with handles at a non-standard height. Trolleys with built-in steps mean that all workers can reach items on higher shelving.

Lifting

The lifting of heavy or large objects can cause injury if not done properly. For large objects, warehouse workers should use lifting equipment or lift the item with the help of another worker.

Ergonomics is about the interaction between workers and equipment, but safe lifting needs to be taught whether any equipment is involved or not. Simply picking up an object off the floor has to be done well, with attention paid to posture and proper lifting techniques.

Learn from past injuries

Any incidents of injury in the warehouse need to be investigated thoroughly and lessons learnt. Sometimes, an injury is a one-off accident, perhaps from a lack of attention or a distraction. Other injuries may be caused by bad ergonomics. By examining all the factors that led to the injury, lessons can be learnt and ergonomics improved.

Ergonomics for office staff

Injury risks may be higher for people picking and packing items, but managers and staff that work at desks in the warehouse can be injured if the desks are not at the correct height and their chairs are not ergonomic. Support staff may work from home and need to be equipped with quality office desks and chairs. Working on a sofa with a laptop may be a temporary solution, but long-term remote workers need a dedicated home office space that is well-equipped with ergonomic solutions.

Storing items

The location of stored items is important. Large items should be stored at heights between knee and shoulder height. Heavy items should ideally be placed between knuckles and elbow height. Warehouses should store frequently used items near packing stations to reduce picking journey times.

Try out new ideas

If managers or staff at your warehouse have an idea about how to improve the ergonomics of your equipment, talk to us at Steely Products. We can design equipment that incorporates the new innovation, and we’ll produce a prototype for you to test out.

To improve the ergonomics of your warehouse and make a safer working environment, start a conversation with our team at Steely. Call or contact us via the form below.

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    Posted by Mark
    26th May 2021
    Retail & Warehousing

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