Warehouse Safety Tips
Warehouse work can be one of the most dangerous occupations, requiring a high level of safety protocol to ensure the wellbeing of workers. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics compiled data that revealed that the warehouse industry has the highest rate of occupational incidents in the country. While the United States has some of the highest standards for worker health, warehouse safety can still be improved.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) conducts safety audits to check up on warehouse safety and ensure that protocol is being followed. When workers are in unsafe environments, they can notify OSHA to do an audit or file a complaint.
Safety isn’t just up to the warehouse management. Workers can take certain precautions such as wearing protective clothing, cautiously lifting heavy objects, removing debris from walkways, refusing to operate heavy machinery without training, and notifying management about potential hazards. While warehouse safety is regulated by OSHA and the business as well, it’s up to workers to take daily responsibility for their own safety.
Warehouse Vehicle Safety
Within the warehouse, workers operate equipment, including trucks, forklifts, or other types of vehicles. Heavy machinery can not only cause injury but also death so it’s crucial for the safety of all that vehicle responsibility is exercised. One of the most common ways that people are injured is when a vehicle driver reverses.
Tips for Warehouse Vehicle Safety
- Provide practical and experiential training for large machinery
- Age operation of vehicles is only 18+
- Enforce vehicle speed limits with signs
- Avoid vehicle reversing
- Set-up a one-way driving plan
- Place mirrors for maneuvering around corners
- Remind warehouse floor workers to look both ways
- Prohibit dangerous driving and vehicle racing
- Keep warehouse aisles free of debris, packaging materials, and equipment
- Keep vehicles’ maintenance and inspections up to date
- Provide a daily checklist for drivers, including a check of warning lights, deflated tires, strange noises, and seatbelt function
Warehouse Trips and Falls
One of the most common ways that people — even those who are not warehouse workers — suffer an injury is through slipping, tripping, or falling. Warehouse workers are even more likely to experience this injury and to do so in a very dangerous setting. Some warehouse workers experience injuries so severe that they die.
Tips for Preventing Warehouse Trips and Falls
- Clean up any liquid spills, object clutter, or debris.
- Schedule facility cleaning outside of normal working hours
- Choose anti-slip floors and paint
- Provide ladder safety training
Warehouse Lifting Safety
Part of the job description for warehouse workers includes manual lifting and machinery-assisted lifting. If not performed correctly a warehouse worker could suffer a significant injury. Warehouse owners and management should prioritize safety by keeping an eye out for unsafe equipment, lifting injuries, and musculoskeletal disorders.
Tips for Warehouse Lifting Safety
- Inform all lift operators of safe working loads (SWL) for equipment
- Train manual lifting form to protect worker’s backs and minimize strain
Warehouse Pallets and Racking
Another aspect of warehouse work is handling pallets and racking. Whether by hand or with machinery, it’s vital that the pallets and racks be handled safely. Pallets need to be stacked carefully to prevent sliding or falling. A pallet fall could cause damage or injury.
Tips for Warehouse Pallets and Racking Safety
- Provide staff training for pallet loading procedures
- Set a standard for safe stacking height and weight capacity recommended by the manufacturer
- Inspect every pallet before use for loose nails, cracks, splinters, or some other issue
- Establish etiquette for interacting with pallets — no climbing, leaning, or walking over pallets
With reports of common injuries and deaths, it’s more important than ever that warehouses take the right steps to protect the wellbeing of their workers. When safety is not prioritized and injury occurs, workers may have legal solutions to consider.
A warehouse that does not take the time to invest in safety precautions for their workers violates the standards laid out by OSHA. Warehouses should take time to review their equipment, facility, and training processes to constantly be updating their safety practices. OSHA protects the employment rights of workers who file a complaint against their employer for a health violation and request an OSHA inspection. In fact, a worker can file and request even on the suspicion of OSHA violations.
If you believe that your employer is not following OSHA guidelines, you should take steps to pursue your employment rights. Speak with a lawyer today to discover your legal rights under the law by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.