With the rise of big box stores such as Walmart, Home Depot, Target, Best Buy and more – over the last several decades the warehousing and logistics industry has experienced rapid growth, providing many jobs to Americans across the country.
It is simple for large companies to tout the benefits of these types of jobs, saying that they bring well paying blue-collar jobs to America, providing a better quality of life than low paying food service jobs.
While it may be true that the warehousing industry is a potentially good source of jobs for Americans, workplace safety in the warehouse environment is a serious concern.
The lack of unions, use of temp-workers, and enforcement of quotas that encourage fast-paced work result in often unsafe conditions and little recourse for workers to report safety issues.
In a survey conducted by WAREHOUSE WORKERS UNITED AND DEOGRACIA CORNELIO, UCLA LABOR OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH PROGRAM, it was found that the majority of warehouse workers surveyed were exposed to dangerous conditions including hazardous chemicals, heavy lifting, and repetitive stress tasks. The majority of workers surveyed had either experienced an injury or seen a coworker injured.
The vast majority of the reasons unsafe conditions persisted were due to the pressure to meet quotas, and fear of reporting incidents.
Providing a safe working environment for warehouse workers is in the interest of companies. Healthy workers are more happier and more productive, and cost companies less money in compensation claims.
There are simple things that warehouse companies can do to prevent injuries:
- Frequent rotation of workers on repetitive tasks
- Workplace exercises and stretching
- Up-to-date safety equipment and protection such as the best ergonomic safety gloves, eyewear, and respirators.
By providing workers with ergonomic safety equipment and encouraging safe work practices such as taking breaks and rotating tasks, warehouse companies can achieve a better work environment for their employees as well as higher productivity.