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The Do's and Don'ts of the Workplace: Ergonomics and Housekeeping

The jobsites, warehouses, offices, and other work areas can be a prime environment for workplace injury. Injuries can occur due to slips, falls, forklift accidents, lifting heavy objects, heat illness and poor posture. In 2021 alone, 5 out of 100 warehouse workers sustained injuries that caused them to miss work. However, most workplace injuries are preventable. Knowing some safety dos and don’ts can help employees to prioritize their health and safety.

When working, employees should try their best to lower their risk of injuries. They can follow these dos and don’ts: 

• Do warm up before your shift. Performing dynamic warmup movements before a labor-intensive shift can increase blood flow to your muscles and prep them for rigorous activity. As a result, your muscles will be more supple and less likely to strain from overuse during the workday. Incorporating stretching can have added benefits. In fact, a study showed that stretching before a shift can significantly reduce employees’ risk of injury.
• Do participate in performing a Last-Minute Safety Assessment (LMSA). An assessment prior to performing a task can help everyone communicate potential hazards to all employees. By conducting the LMSA and reviewing the job safety analysis, employees can remain aware of their surroundings and be less likely to suffer injuries. A study showed that activity hazard assessments led to an overall 51% reduction of reported injuries among workers as well as a 55% increase in overall production.
• Do practice proper body alignment. Practicing proper body mechanics while performing lifting activities can be the difference between safety and injury. Proper body mechanics can keep the body aligned and stable during difficult tasks. In fact, 30% of the days missed from work in 2022 were due to poor ergonomics. Practicing ergonomically optimum postures can help protect workers from both overuse and acute injuries.
• Don’t leave objects on the floor. While it can be common for objects to fall from shelves, decks, and platforms, employees should not let them stay on the floor. A blocked path can cause employees to trip, leading to potentially serious injuries. This is especially true in a warehouse or on a job site where there can be extensive foot traffic and heavy machinery.
• Don’t ignore dirty floors. The floor can accumulate dirt and grime throughout the day. Some of the mess can’t be helped. Heavy machinery, for example, can drip oil and cause the floor to be slick. However, dirty floors are prime spots for injuries. It is important to keep warehouse and office floors clean to prevent slips and falls.
• Don’t ignore pallet rack or pipe rack safety precautions. Racks are common storage tools used in warehouses and drill rigs. However, if they aren’t stacked or used correctly, they can cause unnecessary injuries. Make sure that the racks are secured to the floor and wall and that they are fortified by metal railing. When stacking objects that can shift or roll, proper upright systems must be in place to keep the load from moving forward and potentially crushing an employee.

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