The Most Common Warehouse Injuries (and How to Avoid Them This Winter).

The Most Common Warehouse Injuries (and How to Avoid Them This Winter).

We all know that working in a warehouse can be a physically demanding job. Not only this but with the machinery and equipment you’re likely to use, we must work in certain ways to avoid injuries. Not only to ourselves but our co-workers, too.

When warehouse workers fail to take proper care, this can increase the risk of danger and injury, especially during the winter months. With a likelihood of ice and low visibility if you’re working outside, we must take extra care around the festive period to remain safe.

In this blog, we’re going to go over the most common warehouse injuries you’re likely to face, and how to avoid them this winter. So, we’ll start with:

Slips, Trips, and Falls.

When working in a warehouse, these kinds of risks are often present. We’re not saying they should be, or that it’s right, but they often are.

From cable ties to wooden pallets, there are plenty of tripping hazards in a warehouse – and that’s during the summer months. When the winter approaches, it’ll bring the bad weather – rain, snow, ice, etc, all of which can make slipping hazards a lot more likely. Even if your warehouse is entirely enclosed, treading the snow and ice in from outside can create hazards inside.

How to Avoid This:

To help avoid these types of risks and injuries, every warehouse worker should take extra care during the winter months. When possible, avoid wearing wet and slippery footwear in warehouse spaces. As you would any other time of the year, avoid leaving any trip hazards around the warehouse, and this can easily be prevented by clearing up after yourself.

Forklift Accidents.

Injuries involving forklifts (both for operators and those working around them) are one of the most common injuries found in a warehouse space.

From forklifts tipping over to colliding with co-workers, forklifts can be dangerous when operated by untrained workers. However, even when in the hands of experts, they still present a risk to anyone working with or around them.

How to Avoid This:

Of course, the first step in avoiding forklift accidents is to ensure all operators are qualified. If they’re not, they’ll want to click here.

Second, any employees working in an area in which a forklift is being used should be notified. Of course, the chances are that they’ll hear and see a 4,000kg piece of machinery, but they should always be notified as a precaution.

During the winter months, forklifts should be given extra space to operate, especially if the warehouse has a yard or outside area where it will also be used. Wet and slippery tyres will become increasingly difficult to control and operate. Because of this, allowing forklifts more space to work, as well as driving at reduced speeds, will help combat this.

Lastly, sticking to the weight limits of forklifts and always stacking goods correctly will help prevent the risk of a forklift tipping over.

Muscle & Joint Injuries.

This type of injury can vary drastically, all the way from small, almost unnoticeable injuries, all the way to severe, career-ending ones. Because of this, it’s important to avoid them whenever possible.

As warehouse work is often extremely physical work, this can lead to muscle & joint injuries – especially if you’re not lifting correctly or exceeding recommended limits.

How to Avoid This:

When joining a team or workplace in which heavy lifting is expected, you should be given appropriate training and instructions on how to do so. Failing to do so will often result in injury.

Forklifts will often do most of the heavy lifting in these situations. However, if you’re expected to lift something manually, bend your knees and keep your back straight. If you think something is too heavy to carry, it probably is, and multiple trips may be needed. After all, multiple trips are better than one that results in injury and damaged goods.

Lastly, always ensure walkways are clear of any trip hazards, as these can often also lead to muscle and joint injuries in the warehouse.

Falling Goods.

Falling goods, both on and off of forklifts, is a common cause for injury in and around warehouse environments.

Often caused by incorrect stacking or carelessness around highly stacked goods, when these items fall, they can cause serious injury or even death. Of course, any good warehouse worker worth their salt knows that the heaviest of items belong at the bottom and that goods shouldn’t hang over the side of the item below them. However, this still doesn’t stop a high number of accidents in the warehouse every year from poorly stacked goods.

Falling goods are extremely dangerous due to the nature of what’s inside each box. Though the box might be small, the goods inside might be extremely heavy. Equally, a large box doesn’t necessarily equal heavy contents. So, you see a box about to fall or sliding off a stack, think twice about trying to catch it. After all, what’s inside can’t possibly be worth risking your life for.

How to Avoid This:

As we’ve mentioned above, stacking boxes and packages correctly will help to reduce the risk of falling goods significantly. Naturally, collisions with forklifts and other machinery could still cause well-stacked goods to fall. If this happens, stay well clear, and warn others around you of the imminent danger. As we’ve noted above, you can never be too sure how heavy a box is, or what the contents are. Although you may feel as though you can catch it safely, what might seem like one box falling could soon turn into several. So, don’t put yourself at risk of injury or worse.

Dangerous/Hazardous Goods.

For most warehouses, the risk of injury related to dangerous or hazardous goods will be at a minimum from the start. Of course, there’s a risk of it from time to time, but it will not be a common occurrence. However, for other warehouses, injuries caused by dangerous and hazardous goods will be higher. Either way, we believe it’s important to highlight the possible risks and how to avoid them, anyway.

When handling dangerous and hazardous goods, it’s extremely unlikely that you won’t have been warned before handling them. Because of this, if you’re asked to handle these types of goods, and you haven’t been warned previously, we suggest speaking to your supervisor.

How to Avoid This:

Goods containing dangerous, harmful, or hazardous content should always be handled carefully, and only by trained and appropriate workers. If you’re unsure about handling these types of goods, speak to your supervisor.

Thanks for reading! For more forklift and truck-based blogs, click here. Or, if you’re looking for forklift training, which can be taken at a range of purpose-built locations (or even your own premises), click here.

Until next time, stay safe!

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