For the material handling industry, the Holidays are a time of tight deadlines and increased volume, as businesses try to keep up and get ahead of the holiday workflow and satisfy consumer demand. However, the uptick in output can also lead to an increase in employee injuries. Here’s how to beat the rush and keep your staff safe during one of the most profitable times of the year.
More Product Means More Injury Risk
Keeping warehouses moving billions of dollars worth of product during the holidays is not for the faint of heart, and every operations manager has to be on their A-game from October through December. During all the rush and deadline mania, it’s too easy for employees to slip into unsafe habits in order to try to keep up with demand. Stressed, fatigued employees will also be more prone to falls and slips, and less likely to recognize an injury risk during their shift. It’s important for management staff to reinforce safe working practices during the Holidays in order to combat the additional strain and the urge to cut corners. After all, unsafe behaviors, not unsafe conditions, are responsible for nearly 80 percent of workplace injuries according to Occupational Health & Safety Magazine. Especially for operations using seasonal workers, less experienced seasonal staff are more likely to make mistakes and forget protocol.
Maintaining safety can come more easily if employees are given the right work environment and training. This could entail storage racks throughout the facility, signage, lighting, and provided personal protective equipment such as hardhats and gloves. Further, a refresher course on equipment and environment safety could be beneficial as well. Lastly, in addition to making sure your workplace safety standards are up to par, leveraging new technology helps to keep product moving without risking injury.
Get In Front of the Holiday Rush with Ergonomic Solutions
Material handling operations can avoid last minute rushes by enhancing existing workflow strategy. A more efficient operation leads to less stress for employees, which makes them less prone to injury overall, while also keeping warehouses on schedule. Utilizing ergonomic equipment helps increase efficiency, while protecting employees from developing musculoskeletal injuries from repeated over-exertion. An ergonomic motorized cart or tugger, like the ones we provide to material handling operations all over the world, allows employees to safely transport thousands of pounds of material at a safer, faster rate than using manual carts. It can also replace many of the moves otherwise made by forklift or crane in a warehouse. Installing equipment such as lifts, conveyor sections, and smarter storage schemes can also improve workflow and lessen physical and mental stress on staff.
We recommend requesting a walk-through of your entire facility with an engineering firm in order to better address your operational strategy from a holistic angle. From there, your engineer should be able to make recommendations on what kinds of technological upgrades can help get your business through the holiday rush without employee injury or backlogs.
For more information on ergonomic motorized equipment, consulting with an engineer, or scheduling a walk-through of your facility, get in touch with one of our engineers via the Ask an Engineer form.