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Redesign Tasks to Avoid Injuries

Design distribution center and warehouse jobs so that workers don't have to be 25-year old ex-linebackers.

(Boonton, NJ, August 10, 2012) — The repetitive nature of warehouse jobs can wreak havoc on workers' backs, shoulders, and knees.

While some companies stress proper lifting techniques and stretching, training can go only so far in preventing repetitive stress injuries, says Vern Anderson of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in the August issue of Distribution Center Management newsletter.

"There are limits to how well you can train somebody to lift a 75-pound box," Anderson says.

There are also limits to how well various lift-assist technologies will address the unique situations of your warehouse. "Very seldom do you find something that will fall off the shelf that will work for every solution," Anderson says.

Given those obstacles, Anderson says, managers would be wise to design repetitive tasks to reduce stress on workers. The payoff can be fewer injuries and greater productivity.

The aging workforce makes this approach especially timely, Anderson adds. "My approach is to design a job so you don't have to be a 25-year-old ex-linebacker."

In the August issue of Distribution Center Management newsletter, Anderson suggests where to look for potentially dangerous practices and how to fix them.

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For more than 40 years, Distribution Group publications have helped distribution center and warehouse managers increase productivity, cut costs, and meet increasing customer demands. Distribution Group publishes Distribution Center Management newsletter, books and reports, and a free e-newsletter.

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