With so many moving parts, people, and equipment, a warehouse can be dangerous. For instance, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that more than 7,000 nonfatal injuries occur each year on forklifts alone.
To minimize warehouse accidents and injuries, companies and individual workers must be aware of the most common warehouse injuries they face daily.
By acknowledging these risks, companies can implement effective safety solutions.
Top Five Injuries and the Circumstances That Cause Them
1. Crashes and Crushes
Whether due to poor training or unsafe operation, forklift operators put themselves and others at risk daily. They are responsible for maneuvering around the warehouse floor and the people on it.
Injuries are often caused by crashing the forklift into barriers, objects, or even people! Forklift accidents can also result in forklift overturning, and the injuries resulting from these errors are often crush injuries. The forklift can pin other workers between something, or the operator can accidentally get a limb stuck between the materials being lifted or parts of the forklift.
HIT-NOT is a sensor that dramatically reduces potential injuries like these. It is a pedestrian collision avoidance sensor that warns both pedestrians and operators of potential accidents. HIT-NOT sensors can alert through walls, racks, cargo containers, and blind corner obstructions.
2. Repetitive Stress Injuries
These injuries are due to the everyday repetitive movements that take place in a warehouse. Whether it’s lifting objects up and down or shifting them from side to side, many workers have routine responsibilities that can wreak havoc on their bodies.
Common repetitive stress injuries include carpal tunnel, muscle strains, thumb injuries, neck and shoulder pain, or back pain. These injuries can be avoided by having proper shift lengths, maintaining appropriate form, and support products like back braces.
Overextension injuries are another type of injury that comes with the nature of warehouse work. Workers are often required to lift heavy items or move objects onto loading docks.
These injuries include areas of the body such as the neck, spine, shoulders, or lumbar (lower back). More specific injuries associated with overextension include hernias, torn rotator cuffs, or labrum tears.
A lack of training, too few employees, employees not using necessary equipment, or employees simply not following procedures can lead to overextension injuries. It is imperative that companies clearly define processes and make it easy for employees to follow that procedure.
4. Slips, Trips, and Falls
Slip and fall accidents are all too common in warehouses. They often occur in distribution centers and can be caused by residue or grease, loose cardboard, loose papers, or even cords. Anything that can impede an employee while walking around the warehouse floor.
When an employee slips and falls, they most often injure their necks, backs, shoulders, or knees. Preventative measures include keeping the warehouse floor clear of any hazards and requiring appropriate footwear.
Slip and falls are especially scary for warehouse workers who work alone. For these workers, companies can implement lone worker technology like our GPS tracking device. It offers fall detection that notifies other employees or managers when a worker appears to have fallen and a panic button for emergencies. WheriTrack can be a life-saver for lone workers injured in a slip and fall accident in a secluded area.
5. Concussions and Neck Injuries
Concussions and neck injuries are often a result of falling objects in a warehouse. These are more common in warehouses with unsafe working conditions but, general human error is the next leading cause.
One way to avoid falling objects is to use technology like smart camera sensors to prevent employees from crashing or bumping into stored merchandise and causing it to come crashing down. Smart camera sensors offer line guidance and distance recognition to avoid crashes like these.
Employee Safety is the Goal
Ultimately, the safety of warehouse employees should be the goal for every company and warehouse manager. There is no doubt that warehouses are full of potential risks and hazards. However, there are also plenty of tools that can minimize these risks and work-related injuries.
SynTech knows just how important warehouse safety is. That is why we create custom safety solutions that address risk areas according to each warehouse we work with. To learn more about any of the products mentioned in this blog, contact us today,