Even though heavy equipment and machinery, weighty materials, and possibly hazardous substances are part of the job, warehouse accidents don't have to happen. These situations are often preventable and hindsight shows how the accident could have been avoided. An on-site injury at work affects everyone. It interrupts work flow, it may cause site containment or restriction, and a review of protocols and safety policies. Identifying common risks helps you change the way you do things, and it creates a safer environment for all employees.
Recognize the Common Causes of Warehouse Injuries
Upon inspecting and reviewing over 30,000 job sites in 2016, OSHA determined a "Top 10" list of the most frequent causes of OSHA violations. Inadequate respiratory wear, electrical shock, improperly handling toxic materials, and falling were among the highest detriments to warehouse safety. Businesses should use these assessments as a means to review their own protocols and how they can do things differently. There's more to these critiques, however, since warehouse accident statistics are also important to consider. Almost 100,000 workers a year are in accidents involving forklifts, which makes this a priority safety issue of its own. Other dangers involve dull blades and tools, unsafe loading docks, unsecured pallets, and incorrect lifting procedures.
Follow OSHA Warehouse Safety Tips
Use OSHA guidelines for health and safety in logistics and warehouse settings, as a way to craft your policies and safety manual:
- Provide a proper amount of breaks so employees avoid fatigue or diminished concentration
- Check for adequate ventilation and unobstructed exits
- Install correctly sized guards for loading docks
- Make safety training, including lockout/tagout procedures, part of orientations
Consistently Inspect Equipment and Teach Proper Movement
Make inspections part of everyone's daily responsibilities. Check forklift seatbelts, load capacities, and warning signals. Ensure that clutter or obstructions are removed from pathways. Shut down faulty conveyor belts and electrical tools immediately, and don't use shelving that shows cracks or weakened installation. Ergonomic movements are key to maintaining safety in logistics and other industrial settings, so teach teams how to bend, stretch, and haul materials. Follow hand safety tips, such as what gloves to wear according to the task, and how to avoid sprains, breaks, or dislocations in the event of a fall.
Establish Routines for Warehouse Safety
Incorporate industrial safety reviews into the calendar, and alert everyone to updates of procedures and incident reports as soon as possible. Encourage every team member to share their opinions, such as what they feel are the best tools for workplace safety, and what they see as ways to prevent injuries.
A good backup for written policies is to also show safety videos that work and visuals that catch and keep attention. Warehouse accidents affect everyone's responsibilities, so the more everyone practices industrial safety guidelines, the greater the chances are for avoiding incidents. This video drives home the importance of teaching accident prevention steps. It neatly sums up the most common workplace incidents (with data provided by OSHA) that may result in accidents and injuries and the recommended solutions to prevent these kinds of warehouse accidents: