Unique header: Employee safety should be your main concern regarding warehouse operations. Although industrial accidents do occur, most can be prevented through various safety procedures.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) notes that 25% of all industrial accidents occur on the loading dock and warehouse. In addition, OSHA suggests 70% of incidents could’ve been avoided if employees followed warehouse safety procedures.
Warehouse safety should not be taken lightly. We understand your employees are the most critical component of your warehouse operations and should be protected at all costs. Here are some warehouse safety tips we’ve gathered to ensure employee protection and comply with OSHA standards:
To prevent accidents with motorized work vehicles and other heavy equipment, only certified employees should control them. Vehicles such as forklifts require strict user guidelines, and disciplinary action should be taken if an employee is misusing equipment.
Training and operation awareness are in the hands of the employer. Human error is responsible for most accidents around the warehouse, and it’s generally due to a lack of training. Employers should regularly train and reassess employees on using each piece of equipment properly.
The company must provide equipment to employees to prevent injury. Traditional manufacturing PPE includes protective footwear, hard hats, masks, and eye goggles. You should also ensure all employees wear high-visibility clothing—such as orange vests—to help prevent employee-vehicle accidents.
Old and poorly used racking and shelving can be dangerous. Employees should be adequately trained on how to distribute weight on racks/shelves, assess how much weight a rack/shelf can hold, and how to stack boxes for effective distribution to avoid injury. Regular inspections should also take place to ensure your racking and shelving remains safe and in working condition.
Southwest Warehouse Solutions (SWWS) provides additional products to ensure employee safety. Our safety/material handling netting provides secure pallet placement and eliminates the stress of worrying about pallets moving around on the racking systems. The material netting ensures pallets remain in place.
Clear aisles and tidy warehouse practices are vital for avoiding slip and trip hazards. Employees should always place equipment, pallets, and boxes properly to steer the facility clear from danger.
SWWS promotes RackBack® Safety Panels to ensure the safety and tidiness of your warehouse. These durable wire mesh panels prevent items from falling into warehouse aisleways; the safety panels prevent storage items from shifting out of place and avoid the risk of onsite accidents.
Like warehouse workers, loading dock employees are prone to safety hazards while on the job. SWWS suggests various dock equipment and dock safety practices, including:
It’s easier to ensure employee safety than having to approach an accident reactively. A preventative routine safety plan helps you maintain operational efficiency and productivity.
Loading dock seals help keep extreme weather conditions outside your loading dock. Dock seals maintain climate control, keep floors dry to avoid slipping hazards, and help with ventilation to avoid employees losing their balance if strong winds arise.
It’s a company’s responsibility to ensure compliance with OSHA regulations. OSHA acknowledges loading and unloading processes in their guidelines, including the use of restraints when loading and unloading.
Like warehouse employees, loading dock workers must also be trained and reassessed on safety practices regularly. If your employees don’t know how to use the equipment, employee productivity and safety are compromised.
OSHA suggests the following guidelines to comply with their safety requirements:
- Ensure that your warehouse is well ventilated
- Implement proper lockout/tagout procedures
- Block off exposed or open loading dock doors and any area where an employee could fall more than 4 feet
- Clear floors, aisles, and surfaces of any hazards that could cause trips, slips, or falls
- Train employees on how to work safely in both hot and cold conditions
- Teach new employees proper ergonomics—for general use and specific tasks
- Make sure employees who perform physical tasks receive periodic rest breaks
- Consider proper work practices when determining how long it takes for an employee to complete a task
Like you, employee safety is our top concern. At Southwest Warehouse Solutions, we’re dedicated to helping your team flourish and stay safe while working. Work smarter and stay protected with SWWS.