A warehouse worker wearing a white tee shirt, red flannel shirt, and safety vest stands, arms crossed, looking at camera, while two other workers confer over a clipboard, standing beside a forklift.Distractions – Lifting and climbing — Distractions are a major safety hazard in warehouse work, especially where lifting and climbing are involved. These tasks require concentration, balance, and coordination – all of which can be disrupted by noise, clutter, cell phones, or co-workers talking or wandering around visiting rather than working. In fact, distractions can cause workers to lose their grip, drop objects, fall from heights, or even injure themselves or others. Productivity and efficiency are reduced by distractions, causing workers to repeat tasks, correct errors, or waste time.

An aerial image of a wounde4d warehouse worker on his back on the ground after falling Distractions - Lifting & ClimbingThe risks of distractions
  • Decreased safety and increased risk of accidents or injuries
  • Reduced quality and accuracy of work
  • Impaired performance and speed of tasks
  • Lower morale and satisfaction among workers
  • Higher costs and liability for the employer
Data about the distractions of lifting and climbing

In 2021,  there were 1,160 fatal work injuries in the transportation and warehousing industry in 2021, an increase of 9% from 2020. Falls,

Image of a warehouse worker wrapping coworker's wounded hand in a white cloth. Distractions - Lifting & Climbing

slips, or trips caused 59 of the injuries. Exposure to harmful substances or environments caused the other 28, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What’s more, forklifts were involved in 79,000 nonfatal injuries and 136 fatal injuries in 2020, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). The NSC’s report noted that the most common causes of forklift accidents were operator error, poor training, inadequate maintenance, and lack of safety measures.

The benefits of avoiding distractions

An image of 6 young warehouse workers of various ethnicities. They are cheering and smiling, arms outstretched.

Increased safety and reduced risk of accidents or injuries
Improved quality and accuracy of work
Enhanced performance and speed of tasks
Higher morale and satisfaction among workers
Lower costs and liability for the employer

There is no doubt, then, that this data shows the importance of following safety rules, thus avoiding distractions when lifting and climbing in warehouse work. Distractions can have serious and sometimes fatal consequences for workers and their co-workers.

Read more about this important topic on the National Safety Council’s website.

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