If you work in a warehouse, you face dozens of possible accident scenarios that can leave you hobbled for years to come. With nearly one million warehouse workers in the United States, it is amazing there are not more on the job accidents.
According to the United States Department of Labor, slip and falls represent more than 25% of all workplace injury claims. The same percentage of slip and fall injuries apply to warehouse workers as well. Warehouse accidents occur primarily at five locations:
- Conveyor belts
- Materials storage room
- Area where workers manually lift and handle inventory
How can workers avoid personal injuries in a warehouse? Let’s review the key elements of warehouse safety.
5 Important Warehouse Safety Tips
You can develop the most comprehensive worker safety program in the warehouse where you work. However, the safety program means nothing if there is not an ongoing worker safety training program in place to educate your team of warehouse workers.
Forklift Safety Tips
Education is the key for ensuring worker safety when operating a forklift. Every forklift in the warehouse should include non-slip strips or a non-slip adhesive coating to prevent a forklift from falling and causing serious injuries to one or more workers. Before every use of a forklift, train workers to inspect the forklift to prevent the use of improperly installed hauling equipment. Above all, make sure every forklift operator closely follows the weight capacity guidelines.
Handling Storage Materials
Training workers to stack inventory loads straight and uniformly goes long way towards avoiding storage room injuries. Place the heaviest objects at the bottom of a stack and work upwards by placing the lightest objects at the top of the stack. Remove objects one at time and never remove objects that are in a row under the top row.
Manually Lifting Technique
Learning how to lift objects manually is one of the most important safety tips for warehouse workers. Ergonomics training includes exercises that promote lifting with the legs, not the back. Encourage warehouse workers to life heavy objects in pairs to alleviate the stress of lifting heavy objects alone. Grit tape placed around locations where frequent manual lifting occurs helps prevent slip and falls.
Preventing Slip and Falls
Before employee orientation, make sure every new worker wears a pair of slip resistant shoes. Brands such as Shoes for Crews offer highly durable work shoes that prevent slip and falls. Water is not the only obstacle to worry about when it comes to slip and falls. You also have to ensure the warehouse is free of all objects that potentially create slip and fall accidents. Electrical cords and water hoses are two of the most common objects that make warehouse workers slip and fall.
Warehouse fires can be prevented by making sure the fire suppression system is properly installed and consistently maintained for optimal performance. A warehouse should have sprinkler heads placed at least 18 inches above any type of object to produce a steady flow of water. Create plenty of space between pallets and enough room between pallets and the floor to prevent the rapid spreading of a fire.
When you establish a warehouse safety program, you do much more than prevent costly personal injuries on the job. You also will enjoy a boost in employee morale, which often translates to an increase in worker productivity.