As online retailers grow and the need for more warehouse space grows alongside them, so, too, do the job duties of warehouse workers. As companies compete with one another to ship and deliver products faster, many of them are turning to new technologies and warehouse protocols that do not always prioritize worker safety.
According to EHS Today, the number of warehouse fatalities seen in U.S. warehouses doubled between 2015 and 2017. The industry also now sees the same high injury rate as farming, with 5.1 workers for every 100 suffering on-the-job injuries in warehouses. What are some of the most notable risks faced by today’s warehouse workers?
Training new warehouse workers is expensive, costing an estimated $7,000 to train a new worker to replace one who was making $28,000 a year. However, training workers to use forklifts, pallet jacks and other such equipment is critical for worker safety.
Poor ergonomics may result in musculoskeletal disorders and associated problems, and warehouse workers are at high risk of such injuries. The repetitive nature of many warehouse jobs coupled with the heaving lifting many such jobs require make it critical that warehouse employers train their staff members about proper ergonomics.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has strict rules about keeping warehouse aisles and entryways cleared from clutter or debris. Delays in moving inventory in and out promptly and efficiently may lead to cluttered aisles, which pose a serious risk to warehouse workers.