A warehouse can be a dangerous place if safety precautions are not taken. Workers in warehouses are at risk for injuries due to falls, contact with heavy equipment, and being struck by objects. To keep your workers safe, it is important to follow safety guidelines and standards set by OSHA regarding warehouse safety. In this article, we will discuss the basics of warehouse safety and tips to help keep your workers safe and healthy.
What is Warehouse Safety?
Warehouse safety is a set of regulatory guidelines and precautions to ensure the safety of workers in warehouses. These guidelines are set by government agencies such as the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to minimize the risk of injuries and accidents in warehouses.
According to OSHA, the fatal injury rate for the warehouse industry is reportedly higher than the national average for all industries. That’s why they placed more emphasis on safety in this industry and have created specific safety standards for warehouses.
Importance of Warehouse Safety?
Warehouses are dangerous places to work in if safety is not considered. Injuries in warehouses can lead to death, so it is important to follow safety guidelines to protect workers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, warehouses had over 24,000 nonfatal injuries and illnesses in 2017. These injuries can range from minor cuts and bruises to more serious injuries like broken bones, concussions, and even amputations.
In addition to the risk of physical injuries, warehouses can also be dangerous places for workers due to hazardous materials. Chemicals, cleaning supplies, and other dangerous materials are often stored in warehouses, and if these materials are not handled properly, they can pose a serious health hazard to workers.
OSHA Regulations and Standards Regarding Warehouse Safety
While OSHA doesn’t have any explicit warehousing regulations, several general safety standards apply to warehouses, which include the following OSHA standards:
Warehouse operations also need to prepare and implement a written Hazard Communication program. Warehouse workers who are exposed to hazardous chemicals should also be aware of them and how to protect themselves.
Emergency Action Plan (EAP)
If warehouse owners don’t have an in-house fire safety plan, they need to develop an EAP. An EAP must include procedures for evacuating the building in case of a fire or other emergency.
Warehouse management needs to take precautions to prevent fires, and workers need to be trained to use fire extinguishers. At the same time, you should also have a fire prevention plan to ensure that workers know what to do in the event of a fire.
Warehouses should have at least two well-constructed and well-designed emergency exit routes. These exit routes should be marked and free of obstructions. It should also be located in an area where there is no danger of exposure to toxic fumes or smoke.
Warehouse floors should be clean and free of debris. Any holes or other potential trip hazards should be filled or repaired. In addition, all stairs and ladders should be in good condition and properly maintained.
First Aid and CPR
Workers should be trained in first aid and CPR, and there should be a first aid kit available in the warehouse. OSHA requires warehouse operators to provide first aid and CPR training to prepare workers in an emergency.
Warehouse Safety Hazards and Controls
There are a variety of safety hazards that workers in warehouses need to be aware of, and these hazards can be divided into three main categories:
- Physical hazards: These can cause physical injuries to workers, such as slips, trips, and falls, being struck by an object, and being caught between or under objects.
- Chemical hazards: These are hazards that can cause health problems if workers are exposed to them, such as respiratory irritants, skin sensitizers, and carcinogens.
- Ergonomic hazards: These are risks that can lead to musculoskeletal disorders, such as repetitive motion injuries and back injuries.
Some of the most common safety hazards in warehouses include:
- Falling objects: Objects that are stored on high shelves can fall and hit workers below. To prevent this from happening, all items should be properly secured and stored at a safe height.
- Slips, trips, and falls: Wet or oily floors can cause workers to slip and fall. To prevent this, floors should be kept clean and dry.
- Forklifts: Forklifts are common in warehouses and can pose a serious safety hazard if not operated properly. Workers should be trained on how to operate forklifts safely, and the area around forklifts should be free of clutter.
- Chemical hazards: Many of the products stored in warehouses are hazardous chemicals. Workers should be trained on how to handle these chemicals safely, and they should always wear the appropriate personal protective equipment.
Important Safety Tips for Warehouse Workers
There are several things that warehouse operators can do to ensure the health and safety of their workers, including:
- Safety training: All workers should be properly trained on how to work safely in the warehouse. This training should include information on how to identify and avoid potential hazards.
- Developing safety policies and procedures: Warehouse operators should develop safety policies and procedures that workers must follow. These procedures and policies should be reviewed regularly.
- Conducting safety audits: Safety audits can help warehouse operators identify potential hazards in the workplace. Once these hazards are identified, they can be corrected.
- Maintaining a clean and well-organized warehouse: A clean and well-organized warehouse is safer. Workers should be encouraged to keep the workplace clean and free of clutter.
- Investing in safety equipment: Warehouse operators should invest in safety equipment, such as safety shoes, gloves, and eyewear. This safety equipment can help protect workers from injuries.
Create a Warehouse Safety Checklist with DATAMYTE
If you want to implement warehouse safety measures effectively, it is important to have a safety checklist in place. This safety checklist can help you track safety compliance and identify potential hazards in the workplace.
While traditional paper-based checklists can be helpful, they are often lost or misplaced. DATAMYTE’s digital safety checklist is the perfect solution for warehouse safety. With our Digital Clipboard software, you can create a safety checklist that is always readily available.
What’s more, our Digital Clipboard software makes it easy to collect data and generate reports. This data can be used to identify safety trends in the workplace.
So book a demo with us today to learn more about how DATAMYTE can help you improve your warehouse safety. We would be happy to provide you with a free software demo.
By following these tips, warehouse operators can help create a safer work environment for their employees. Creating a safe workplace is not only the right thing to do but can also help reduce workers’ compensation claims and other costs associated with workplace accidents.