In November 2018, OSHA released the latest workplace injury statistics. They report that there were “2.8 million non-fatal injuries and illnesses reported by industry employers in 2017.” That staggering figure does not include deaths and non-privatized entities.
As company leaders, you take the safety of your workers seriously, that’s why it’s crucial to adhere to the highest safety standards set by your company along with OSHA regulations.
Your warehouse is one area prone to safety hazards. Functions inside a warehouse will vary depending on the industry; however, they share a commonality – dangers and risks to workers. Below are a few danger areas within a warehouse for which you should monitor and provide routine training to all staff.
Warehouse Safety Precautions
- Loading Docks
- Make sure floors are dry and clean to avoid unnecessary slip and falls,
- Keep containers, tools, or other materials out of the way
- Properly dispose of trash
- Store rags with combustible chemicals in closed containers
- If there’s a spill, immediately clean it up using chemical datasheets, if necessary. Follow protocol for major or chemical spills including alerting responders
- Watch for ice or dripping water
- Report cement cracks
- Hand Truck Operation
- Using hand trucks inside a warehouse is a routine procedure to move large, heavy, and awkward items.
- Load the heaviest items on the bottom
- Always balance the load forward to avoid carrying the weight by the handle
- Do not block your view with items
- Secure bulky or awkward items
- Use a planned route to avoid a dangerous area
- Do not walk backward while in use
- Use gloves to protect your hands
- Maintain a safe speed
- Park in designated areas only
- Lift Table Use
When appropriately used, lift tables can increase the safety of your employees by making heavy loads easier to transport or by positioning products in a more ergonomically correct way.
- Only certified operators should operate lift tables.
- The operator should not exceed the manufacturer’s load rated capacity
- Never use to transport people unless designed for that purpose
- Hazardous Materials
Mishandling hazardous material can be deadly. Handle every chemical brought into your warehouse carefully and according to OSHA’s regulations for that substance.
- All precautions should be considered for drainage to avoid water penetration
- Always have enough ventilation
- Keep in a safe, designated area away from anything that may cause danger such as flammable liquids
- Know how to stack and remove containers for the contained substance
- Always have emergency equipment available
- Workers should wear protective clothing and equipment
In summary, worker safety should be a priority and not taken for granted. Each safety measure should be reviewed and compared against OSHA regulations routinely. Proper training and certifications must be issued when required, onboarding for both temp and full-time workers should include a safety manual for which they will perform. It’s always a good idea to consult with a safety professional to ensure you are up to date with the latest safety measures and equipment.
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