Think safety into logistics

Safety management in the loading/unloading zone

As companies around the world continue to feel the need to work faster and more efficiently, there is one common aspect they all must keep in mind: the welfare and safety of their employees. Whenever you are considering investing in new equipment, or changing a workflow, we recommend that you think safety into your logistics process.

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When an employee has an accident you not only have to face the skyrocketing costs of workplace injuries, but also lost employee time and knowledge. Safety should be high on the priority list as the financial impact this can have on your business can be severe. Check available standards and regulations to make sure the equipment you are purchasing meet all the mechanical, electrical and safety requirements. Ensure all proper safety devices are in place and understand how they work.

Although most companies go through rigorous training efforts regarding how to lift, move and maneuver heavy products and parcels, employees work in fast pace mode and continue to cause injuries to their back, arms, shoulders, hands and elbows. There have even been cases of lifting heavy items in the correct, ergonomic manner causing knee and joint strain.

The question that remains in focus is: How can we improve the work environment, preventing injuries?

The OSHA “Warehouse Safety Pocket Guide” suggests the following precautions:

  • Be alert and work safely around equipment.
  • Make sure all employees are aware of safe work procedures and precautions.
  • Inspect conveyors regularly.
  • Ensure that pinch points are adequately guarded.
  • Develop ways of locking out conveyors and train employees in these procedures.
  • Provide proper lighting and working surfaces in the area surrounding the conveyor.
  • Provide general ergonomic and task-specific training.
  • Test the load to be lifted to estimate its weight, size and bulk, and to determine the proper lifting method.
  • Minimize the need for lifting by using good design and engineering techniques.
  • Lift properly and get a coworker to help if a product is too heavy.
  • If possible, use powered equipment instead of requiring a manual lift for heavy materials.
  • Reduce lifts from shoulder height and from floor height by repositioning the shelf or bin.
  • Don’t twist while carrying a load, but shift your feet and take small steps in the direction you want to turn.
  • Keep floors clean and free of slip and trip hazards.
  • Create a Hazards Communication Plan.