The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the warehouse and storage industry employs over one million workers in more than 17,000 locations across the nation. Evidently, a large number of people work in warehouses and the number is ever-growing. Therefore, it’s imperative to know the safety guidelines for warehouses and how to maintain warehouse safety. Moreover, the BLS also reports that the various sectors within the warehousing industry have the highest occupational industry incidents rates in the country out of all industries. So let us find out useful warehouse safety tips and how to avoid accidents.
- Personal Protective Equipment
While personal protective equipment (PPE kits) has been popularised with the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, warehouse workers require different kinds of personal protective equipment to protect themselves from injury. Warehouse workers use different equipment based on their work which includes safety goggles, hard hats, fire-resistant clothing, steel-toe boots, earplugs, and leather work gloves. Make sure that your warehouse workers make it a point to start their shift with the appropriate protective equipment.
- Inculcate Proper Warehouse Equipment Use
The equipment present in a warehouse can be quite dangerous if not handled properly. Equipment like forklifts even requires a special license to operate. Inculcate proper warehouse equipment techniques to the operators and workers. Regular training on safety protocols can make your warehouse a safer place to work in.
- Clean and Organise
A very basic yet important way to ensure warehouse safety is to keep the warehouse clean and organised. Firstly, ensure the warehouse floors are free of all potential “slip and trip” hazards. Conduct regular safety checks and make sure the floors are free of liquids, stray cords, tools, or other potential hazards. There should be no pits or cracks in the flooring. Perform timely cleaning procedures and inspections to prevent clutter build up.
- Report Injuries/Unsafe Practices
This is an effective way to maintain warehouse safety. The first is for the workers to report all injuries, big or small, to the management immediately. Secondly, if the warehouse workers witness a colleague failing to follow safety protocol, they must report this it to the management. This ensures compliance of safety protocols by the staff which ultimately leads to fewer accidents.
- Maintenance of Equipment
Timely maintenance of equipment is a big factor in promoting warehouse safety. Machinery parts, pallets and racking systems become old and worn out after repetitive use. This might pose a serious safety hazard. Therefore, regular inspection of equipment is necessary. Have a preventative maintenance schedule in place and replace malfunctioning or damaged equipment immediately. Establishing a documented maintenance schedule for all equipment ensures machines and machine guards are working correctly.
- Use Proper Lifting Techniques
A major cause of injuries in warehouses is lifting items manually. Therefore, it’s important that workers follow proper lifting form and techniques to prevent ergonomic injuries from stacking, lifting, and storing materials. These include keeping the back straight while lifting, lifting with the legs and avoiding twisting or turning.
Following these warehouse safety tips can significantly reduce the chance of accidents in a warehouse. This is beneficial for the employees as well as the management.