Warehouse Labor – Dirty, Dull & Dangerous

by Nate Aswege
July 15, 2022

A day in a warehouse workers life can be full of hard work and problems. More often than not, warehouse workers have to perform a great deal of physical labor. Of course, this can take a toll on anyone, causing workers to make more errors and mistakes, which in some cases can result in accidents, injuries or worse.  

The Dangerous Jobs

There are plenty of warehouse jobs that can and do have a risk associated to them. Let us discuss some of them below. 

Loading Trucks

Loading trucks is a physically demanding job that not everyone is cut out to do. In most cases, companies have to meet a deadline and sometimes using a forklift is out of the question. This is where warehouse workers have to carry heavy boxes and floor-loaded orders and load it into trucks manually. While the weight of the items can vary significantly, going through the same repetitive motion for long periods can take a toll on anyone’s body.  

More importantly, if a worker lifts something, whether light or heavy, with the wrong technique, they could face a great deal of pain. In some cases, the pain even sidelines workers from their job for weeks or months. Numerous warehouses have eight to twelve hour shifts where workers have to load wagons or trucks by hand, running back and forth. Going through the same motion for months is enough to seriously injure or disable people. 

Operating Forklifts

While operating a forklift seems quite straightforward, there are plenty of complications involved. First off, it is not the same as driving cars. Sure, both have a steering wheel, seat belt and four wheels, but the similarities and there. Warehouse workers responsible for operating forklifts often have to carry stuff they are not trained to carry. This often results in accidents, injuring the operator and people in the vicinity in the process.  

While most companies choose experienced and skilled individuals to operate forklifts and other equipment, accidents can happen anytime, making a warehouse worker’s job incredibly dangerous. There are around 62000 forklift related accidents every year, with 100 of them resulting in fatalities. 

Stacking

When we think about the various safety issues related to working in warehouses, most of us think about the dangers involved in lifting heavy items or operating forklifts. Sure, both jobs pose massive threats and can cause serious injuries if performed incorrectly, but stacking items can also be equally dangerous, if not more.  

Products and raw materials that are not stacked properly can fall unexpectedly, causing bruises, cuts or even serious injuries. While most employers go above and beyond to make sure the working conditions are safe, some accidents just happen unexpectedly. 

Long Working Hours

Most warehouses tend to struggle with incredibly high turnover rates along with employee recruitment. Because of these problems workers often have to put in long hours to ensure they can meet deadlines. There is no denying that the overtime pay can be quite attractive, but the longer a human works in a single shift, the higher the risk of mistake and injury. 

Long working hours is among warehouse workers’ most common complaint. While companies can fix this issue by getting in more workers, the high turnover rate of warehouses is still a big issue. Many people believe that introducing automated processes and utilizing robotics could come in quite handy and reduce working hours and high turnover rates.  

Insufficient Training

While training days are often deemed as costly or boring, a large number of workers really need it. This is particularly true for workers who have to operate large equipment and heavy machinery. Every employee must receive safety and specialized training to ensure they can operate effectively. Unfortunately, however, the high turnover rates in the warehousing industry means that most companies don’t have the time or money to train employees 

Injuries

As mentioned abundantly, warehouse jobs can be incredibly strenuous and can cause immediate injuries. In some cases, they can also cause injuries that build up over time. For instance, people working in warehouses handling product distribution have to hand wrap pallets. Performing this activity repeatedly for long periods can result in a great deal of back pain and various other injuries. Unlike most warehouse related injuries, these develop over time and require a lot of time to heal.  

Warehouse owners can minimize of issues like these by trying to automate strenuous jobs with the help of pallet wrappers, palletizers, case packers and more. Another thing they can do is encourage their workers to update their managers whenever they experience pain so they can examine the activity causing the issue.  

Accidental Redundancies

More often than not, warehouses have multiple operations and most of them are connected to create smooth workflows. However, if managers fail to create organized workflows they could later on find that workers are working on the same operation more than once accidentally. Redundancies like these can significantly increase labor costs, take extra time, making the life of warehouse workers incredibly dull. 

Issues like these are especially prevalent in large warehouses because here is a great deal of space and loads of inventory to take care of. One of the most effective solutions for issues like these is to make use of technologies like modern warehouse robotics solutions to automate processes that otherwise create redundancies. For example, warehouse companies can minimize redundancies in order picking processes by utilizing bar code technology in order to scan products. This will help them keep track of the items that have been picked and notify users in case there are any duplicates.  

Do you run a warehouse and want to improve your processes and workflow? Are you looking to reduce risk of injury for your employees? If so, an automation system from Prime Robotics can help you retake control of your warehouse operations. Contact us today and we will help transform your warehouse, optimize your operations and make sure your workers can perform with maximum efficiency. 

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