According to the 2018 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, non-fatal workplace injuries cost U.S. companies $62 billion in worker compensation. Of that amount, companies spent $15.1 billion on injuries related to lifting, pushing and pulling objects. And injuries related to repetitive motions? That cost them another $1.8 billion. Warehouse employees who perform repetitive work for long periods of time are most likely to be at an increased risk for injury. Hand wrapping pallet loads, for example, is a common way distribution center workers may experience repetitive stress injuries (RSI). Below, learn how to prevent RSIs when packaging products like stretch wrapping.
What is a Repetitive Stress Injury?
A repetitive stress injury (RSI) is damage to bodily tissue (such as the muscles, tendons, spinal discs, blood vessels, and nerves) caused by repeated physical stresses. RSIs occur from a gradual build-up of small amounts of damage caused by repetitive motions involving the use of the same tendons or ligaments. Maintaining the same body posture for long periods of time—as many jobs require—contributes to developing RSIs.
The Main Areas of the Body Affected by RSI are:
- Upper and lower back
- Upper arms
- Fingers and thumbs
Avoiding RSI When Stretch Wrapping
Considering that a person who has to do hand wrapping needs to bend over, pull film tightly, while at the same time walk in circles around the load, it makes sense that warehouse employees are at least 8 times more likely to suffer back problems than any other type of worker. Not only is hand wrapping dangerous for employees, it becomes a large productivity and ROI drain.
Stretch wrapping machines, on the other hand are built to wrap loads safer, faster and more consistently. At Hughes, we help to streamline the packaging processes and create automated and ergonomic-friendly commercial packaging solutions designed to prevent safety concerns such as repetitive motion injuries.
Take a look at our previous posts, “Stretch It Out to Prevent Repetitive Motion Injuries” and “Improve Your Posture and Your Packaging,” for great tips on pre-work stretching to help reduce musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs) including exercises for your back, legs, upper body and forearms.
Hughes Automated Stretch Wrapping Machines
Manually stretch wrapping a pallet can contribute to injuries and strains; utilizing a stretch wrap machine is vital in the improvement of operation quality and employee safety.
Companies that emphasize an ergonomics process will see a positive impact on hiring and retaining a workforce in a competitive market by reducing barriers to job placement, reducing the cost of turnover and boosting morale. Demonstrate the importance of ergonomic packaging solutions while at the same time implement proper packaging equipment and solutions to add value to your bottom line immediately.
For more information please contact a Hughes Enterprises Packaging Consultant.