• Warehouse Safety Principles: Keeping Workers Safe

    At any time, warehouse and lift truck operations  can lead to accidents that result in costly damages and life-threatening injuries. To prevent these incidents from happening, safety standards are enacted by the United States’ Department of Labor though OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration.) In spite of this, however, thousands of injuries still occur each year in U.S. warehouses.

    What makes matters worse, many of these injuries, and property damage, result from a lack of safe operating procedures, enforcement of procedures, and inadequate training. As a quick safety reminder, Seton offers the following guidelines to help keep warehouse employees working:

    Warehouse Safety Guidelines

    • Employers should ensure that equipment-specific warehouse safety training is provided to all employees. Even an easy task can turn into a costly incident due to lack of training.
    • Safety personnel should not skip or cut corners on pre-shift inspections. To prevent accidents, identifying faulty equipment, potential malfunctions and other hazards before the day’s activities begin.
    • Implement the appropriate lockout/tagout procedures throughout the facility. This keeps employees safe from injuries that may be incurred during machinery and electrical repair. Make sure to use the proper lockout/tagout supplies, like those avialable at Seton.
    • Loads that are improperly stacked are warehouse accidents waiting to happen. Stack all loads in such a way that they do not become top-heavy. When high-stacked loads are unavoidable, use a lift truck that is capable of both managing high-stacked loads and sharp turns.
    • Always use the appropriate equipment for a specific task. Also, avoid using tools for any use other than their intended use.
    • Transport vehicles should be adaptable to the job at hand, as well as the operator’s driving technique. Also keep in mind that forklifts, hand trucks and pallet jacks are not designed to accommodate passengers. When driving, operators should be aware of both pedestrians and other vehicles, especially along aisles in the facility.
    • Drivers should sound the horn when needed, as back-up beeps can too easily become part of ambient noise in a warehouse. Pedestrians, for their part, should always be on alert and be on the look out for passing vehicles.
    • Floors must be kept clear of clutter  and spillage that could cause employees to slip or trip. Power cords or hoses should be provided with heavy-duty cord covers, to reduce tripping hazards while also protecting the cables from wear and damage.
    • Employees using ladders should remember to maintain their center of gravity, and should not lean further than the extent of their belt buckle. For rolling ladders, employees should make sure that the wheels are completely locked.
    • Employees should always wear appropriate clothing in the warehouse. Rings and jewelry should be removed, and long hair should be kept tied back, as these can get caught in machinery or equipment. And all employees should be provided with the personal protective equipment (PPE) required for their job.
    • Implement safety protocols as well for extreme temperature environments and/or objects. Make sure to maintain proper ventilation in the warehouse at all times.
    • Worker fatigue can cause all sorts of accidents in a warehouse. Prevent this by allowing adequate rest breaks for employees tasked with physical work. Likewise, rushing to finish a task can also result in accidents and injuries. Set reasonable deadlines to prevent the stress and distraction that comes with rushing through projects.
    • Of course, these guidelines will not serve their purpose if they are not followed. Remind personnel of all safety procedures they should follow by installing the proper warehouse safety signs throughout the facility. In this way, the training they have received is adequately supplemented, and safety awareness is reinforced at work.

    The fact is that thousands of accidents occur in warehouses.  And workers jobs are difficult enough without them having to worry about their safety as well. Following the proper warehouse safety principles will not only protect them as they complete their tasks, but also help guarantee a more stable and productive facility.

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