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Work volume and workers: why you should keep things proportionate

A trend in workplaces globally is to be handling increased volumes of work with a reduced number of employees. This trend increases pressure and expectations on employees.

Apart from the effects on the wider community of higher unemployment rates there can be increased risks to the workplace health and safety. 

Increasing work volume for employees can lead to fatigue, distraction and stress. It's a dangerous combination in any work environment – particularly when operating machinery around warehouse racking.

Accidents can – and will – happen

Imagine the following common scenario. You are a warehouse forklift driver in a high volume industry. Arriving at work early, action is already in full swing. The courier that didn't collect by 5pm last night is already waiting, and sales are pushing an urgent load to get onto a courier who needs to get to the airport ASAP.

The trucks are lining up, you're a person down sick, and your workplace hasn't replaced the person who left last month.

Morning break gets missed – lunch is late and forget about a break in the afternoon. Sales are on your back again, the afternoon rush of trucks is on and you've still got a huge list of pallets to move yet.

You're stressed and fatigued; things are running behind.

You swing the wheel of the forklift. CRUNCH. You've taken down the upright of a pallet rack turning in haste. It, and the whole next bay, collapses, narrowly missing the forklift and bringing down a load of stock. Trucks are forgotten, and nothing further leaves that day, or the next.

It could have been worse. Forklift accidents are a common cause of pallet racking damage. Consequences range from racking damage and delays to business, to workplace death.

Death or injury can result in charges being laid against the company, including possible charges of industrial manslaughter.

Keep employees safe and refreshed and volume appropriate to employee ratios, and your warehouse – and pallet racking – will all be in a safer environment. Working with pallet racking training is also a great tool in providing a safe workplace.