When thinking about changes you could make so that your supply chain processes are more worker-friendly and ergonomic, the first thing to understand is the unique risk factors your employees face, according to Steiner Technologies. For instance, if employees are constantly asked to lift and/or carry heavy loads on a regular basis, making the same repetitive motions many times per day and otherwise putting a strain on their bodies throughout the day, they may be more likely to suffer a workplace injury or repetitive stress problem.
Of course, many of these hazards are not immediately apparent, even to the people who face them on a daily basis, so perhaps the best place to start when changing your processes to be more ergonomically friendly is with a thorough review of past incidents, the report said. Taken one at a time, each injury might seem to be a unique incident, but there may be similar contributing factors you might be able to turn into actionable points of focus. Along similar lines, it can be helpful to just talk to employees and find out where, when and how they experience common aches and pains on the job.
Making the changes
Once you begin to identify a pattern or series of patterns that could be leading to injury risk, it's time to consider how to address them, according to Darcor. Something as simple as providing workers with more tools to help them transport heavy items (including dollies or hand carts) can go a long way toward reducing risk, but so too can moving the areas where items are stored.
If, for instance, workers note that they constantly have to bend down or stretch upward to reach important materials on shelves, rearranging where those items are stored so that there's no bending or reaching involved can go a long way toward reducing risk, the report said. However, it's also important to make sure workers know the best practices for handling materials, so it's a good idea to install a regular safety training initiative to ensure everyone knows the best ways to reduce common injury risk.
Just like having a proper safety training program in place is a good idea, another key component to making sure employees are physically prepared for the rigors of the job, according to Safety by Design. In many cases, that could be something as simple as mandated stretching regimens at the start of the day, and also at various points throughout it, so workers stay limber and prepared for the physical strain that can come with logistics work.
The more companies and employees can do to understand risk factors and move to mitigate them, the better off all involved are likely to be on an ongoing basis.