Warehouse Safety: Hazards to be Aware of
Have you implemented safety programs or a safety checklist for your warehouse facility? It’s important to be mindful of potential warehouse hazards and know how to address them properly to maximize safety for your employees. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) sets safety requirements for the workplace to minimize preventable injury and death in the workplace. In regards to warehouse safety, OSHA standards enforce various safety practices to reduce safety hazards and employee injuries. The following are some of the most important safety practices to consider implementing for a safer warehouse and maximum employee safety.
Common Warehouse Safety Hazards
Employee safety should be the top priority in any workplace, especially warehouses. Many different steps can be taken to dodge hazards in your warehouse. Starting with guard rails and safety gates, any opening higher than four feet should be blocked off to avoid any falls. Additionally, employees should know what independent measures to take to stay safe in the warehouse. Wearing protective gear such as a hard hat, safety vest, or protective eye wear can save your employees from a lot of potential harm while working with heavy or hazardous materials. Using proper lifting techniques or warehouse handling materials such as hand trucks and warehouse carts will help to prevent injury. Allowing resting time for employees whose jobs require physical labor is necessary for their physical health. Managers should be enforcing these practices and rewarding workplace safety to encourage continued safety practices in your warehouse.
A Safe Facility
The first step to warehouse safety is having a safely functioning facility. The following are a few key steps to take in order to have a safe warehouse building.
Ventilation System – Does your building have a proper ventilation system? If you’re working with hazardous materials, the building needs to be able to maintain clean breathing air and avoid any fire danger through proper storage and ventilation of materials.
Equipment Maintenance – Performing maintenance on your equipment and machines is not something to be overlooked or put off. If damages occur to any of your equipment, it should be reported immediately—even if it’s only a minor impairment. A simple dent in a racking upright could end in a collapsed racking system later if it’s not taken care of. Replace your damaged equipment as soon as possible to escape any further harm to your materials or employees.
Forklift Safety – Another important aspect of warehouse safety procedures is forklift safety. Forklift drivers need to be fully alert, driving within designated areas and on the lookout for any employees or materials that could get in the way.
Securely Stored Materials – Your racking system should be aligned and properly anchored to the floor. Materials on your racking systems should not be hanging over or protruding into aisle space, and shouldn’t exceed the listed weight capacity of your storage system.
Clean workplace – Your warehouse should have clear aisles and clean floors. Having boxes sitting around or materials where they don’t usually belong can create unforeseen obstacles for your forklift drivers and employees that could cause an accident. Cleaning your warehouse should be a daily routine in your facility.
Implement Safety in Your Warehouse
It is important that safety procedures are prioritized and heavily implemented into your warehouse functions. Develop clear safety procedures and train your employees on how to follow them and to be knowledgeable about possible hazards around the warehouse. Create warehouse safety signs and have clearly marked exit paths to be prepared for any emergencies that could arise. Use organic materials when possible to limit exposure to harmful chemicals, and clearly mark hazardous materials around your facility. Set minimum safety standards and post safety expectations to keep all of your employees well informed of your facility’s safety procedures. Overall, making safety a priority in your warehouse facility is a must, and will reduce the chances of any potential injuries that could have otherwise been prevented if more safety measures had been taken. Better safe than sorry!
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