In 1989, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a fact sheet titled, “Back Injuries — Nation’s #1 Workplace Safety Problem.” It’s a provocative title, but not misleading. In that year, more than a million back injuries were documented in U.S. workplaces. Manual material handling was the main source of worker’s compensation payments, and 80 percent of injuries related to that field involved the lower back.
As every floor worker knows, a warehouse can be a busy place. Stock is constantly being replaced, and lift trucks with full pallet-loads sometimes compete with staff on foot for access to aisles. This mixed-traffic scenario subjects workers to potential risks, however, so it’s far from an ideal practice.