Working in a warehouse can be challenging due to several reasons. For example, warehouse workers need to work for long hours managing inventory, storing supplies, and delivering them to the right place. Performing such duties may require repetitive motions, sitting, standing, running, staying in awkward positions, and lifting heavy objects. These actions when not performed accurately or carefully may cause serious injuries, including musculoskeletal injuries. Injuries, sometimes, may leave serious impacts, take long to heal and may keep warehouse workers away from their work field.
Here in this article, we come up with the common injuries warehouse workers face. Understanding the common causes of these injuries may help you reduce the chances of injuries. At the same time, understanding the symptoms of these injuries will help you diagnose them and start treating them at their early stages. Moreover, the best safety measures, suggested by experts, are also discussed here, helping warehouse workers to get a safe working experience without facing any hazards. So, let’s begin this discussion here;
Common injuries found in warehouse workers
Warehouse workers are required to perform repetitive tasks, lifting heavy objects, and staying in awkward postures. These actions can cause several injuries to muscles and joints, causing pain and other discomforts. The following are the common injuries found in warehouse workers along with the causes, symptoms, and safety measures:
1. Back strain
Among the most prevalent issues of warehouse workers, facing lower back strain is the one. Warehouse workers are usually required for a physically demanding job, putting excessive pressure or strain on the back. For example, they are required to lift heavy objects, be involved in twisting and bending movements, and prolonged time of poor posture. As well as this, employees involved in packing, handling, loading or unloading duties, may also be vulnerable to lower back strains. Common symptoms associated with lower back strain may include pain in the lower back area, limited flexibility, and muscle spasms.
How to prevent back strain
Warehouse facilities should provide workers with proper training, including lifting techniques and the use of carts and forklifts for heavy weights. As well as this, employees must also be trained in maintaining proper posture to perform specific tasks. Wearing a lower back support brace helps reduce putting excessive pressure on the lower back during lifting heavy weights and other activities.
2. Shoulder injuries
Many warehouse workers are engaged in tasks requiring repetitive lifting, reaching, and carrying heavy loads. These activities when performed constantly or not done correctly may lead to shoulder injuries. Shoulder injuries may encompass a range of conditions, including shoulder impingement syndrome, shoulder tendinitis, and rotator cuff tears. The common symptoms linked with shoulder injuries may include persistent pain, grinding or clicking sensation, difficulty moving, and weakness around the shoulder joint.
How to prevent shoulder injuries
Learning proper lifting techniques and maintaining proper posture during these activities are enough to reduce the chances of injuries. Workers who are vulnerable to injuries are advised to wear shoulder support braces to keep the shoulder joint aligned and reduce the risks of muscle imbalances. Consequently, they get an injury-free working experience.
3. Neck pain
Several factors can contribute to the development of neck pain during warehouse work. Among these factors, poor ergonomics, such as frequent upward head movement and improper work station are the common ones. Operating machines and retrieving items from high shelves can put excessive pressure or strain on the neck muscles causing pain and other discomforts. Neck injuries during warehouse work may result in aching, stiffness, and a limited range of motion.
How to prevent neck pain
Arranging an ergonomic workstation is the primary safety measure to reduce the risk of neck pain or injury. Other measures include maintaining proper posture and taking regular breaks. However, wearing neck support braces helps keep your neck in a straight position, avoiding putting excessive pressure or strain on the neck muscles.
4. Carpal tunnel syndrome
Warehouse workers who are engaged in repetitive hand or wrist movements, including handheld devices, scanning barcodes, and others, may be more prone to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful condition of your wrist and results when the median nerve in the wrist becomes compressed due to repetitive movements or putting excessive pressure on the wrist joint. The condition usually results in pain in the index finger, middle finger, and thumb areas. As well as this, you may also feel a tingling sensation and weakness around the wrist joint.
How to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome
The basic safety measure to avoid the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome is to use ergonomic tools. Then you must take regular breaks from repetitive tasks, maintain proper posture, and perform stretching exercises. Healthcare professionals also suggest wearing wrist braces for people who are vulnerable to injuries during their work. Wearing wrist support braces keeps your wrist joint aligned and reduces putting excessive strain on the median nerve, reducing the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome.
5. Knee injuries
Warehouse workers engaged in squatting, twisting, bending, and lifting movements may face knee pain or injuries. Pain in the knee joint is the primary symptom of a knee injury. Based on the intensity of the injury, you may also experience swelling, difficulty straightening or bending the knee, instability, and weakness around the knee joint.
How to prevent knee injuries
Implementing knee pads for kneeling, learning proper lifting techniques, and adequate cushioning and support are the primary safety measure to avoid knee injuries in the warehouse. Healthcare professionals also suggest bracing your knees as wearing knee braces helps reduce the risk of overstretching and straining.
6. Shin splints
Warehouse workers involved in prolonged walking or running activities may develop shin splints, especially those who run on uneven surfaces. At the same time, standing for a prolonged time may also cause leg pain or shin splints. Pain, mild swelling, tenderness, and soreness are the common symptoms associated with shin splints.
How to prevent shin splints
If you are involved in long hours of walking, running, or standing, take regular breaks to avoid overusing your legs. Try to spend less time on hard surfaces and perform stretching or strengthening exercises. Wearing compression socks helps protect your legs and offers counter-pressure against the impact that can wear the shins during your job activities.
7. Ankle sprains
While working in a warehouse setting, several factors can contribute to ankle sprains. For example, working on uneven surfaces, slippery floors, and frequent standing or walking can cause ankle sprains. Wearing improper footwear may also put excessive strain on ankles, causing sprains. Ankle sprains usually result in pain and instability. Based on the intensity of the damage, you may also feel stiffness, difficulty walking, bruising, popping sensation, and limited range of motion.
How to prevent ankle sprains
Ensure that you wear proper footwear and consciously perform running or walking activities. Avoid walking on uneven or slippery floors that can cause falling or overstretching of ankles. Wearing ankle support braces provides ankles with proper cushioning and support, reducing the chances of overextension.
The closing statement
Warehouse work may be challenging and cause different overuse injuries. But, performing your tasks accurately or following safety measures properly can help you reduce the chances of injuries. When necessary, you must wear supportive garments. Whenever you feel vulnerable to injuries, must halt your activities and consult your healthcare professionals instead. Follow their instructions and work accordingly.