Working in a warehouse environment is a tough job, and can also be a dangerous one. But with proper training, the warehouse can be a workplace of productivity, not peril or fear of potential hazard. Many risks come with the job, but if you educate yourself and your employees on appropriate warehouse safety procedures, and prepare for any potential hazards, you can significantly reduce the risk of accident and/or injury. Read on for the most essential warehouse safety tips to stay safe on the job and go to work each day with peace of mind.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides an extensive list of standards that should be implemented in any warehouse to maintain worker safety. Whether your business is in construction, maritime, or general industry, there are necessary regulations to educate yourself and your employees on not only to keep employees safe from accident, injury, or hazardous material but also protect your business from lawsuits and even closure.
OTI Education Centers are nonprofit organizations authorized by OSHA to deliver
occupational safety and health training to workers, supervisors, and employers. These centers offer regular seminars on a variety of health and safety topics that could be useful for you to attend to increase your education and glean more workplace safety tips.
Create A Workplace Safety Program
Abiding by OSHA guidelines is not only national law, but is also a great place to start when creating a workplace safety program. Once you are aware of the regulations and common violations, you can implement proper safety protocol to protect you and your employees from potential warehouse accidents. Here are a few key ingredients every workplace safety program should have:
An Emergency Action Plan and Exit Strategy
Warehouse Safety Signs
Medical Services and First Aid
Personal Protective Equipment Guidelines
Implement Safety Training
The most significant threats to worker safety in warehouses are power tools and heavy machinery. However, if you are aware of the risks associated with both being around and operating these tools and machinery, you can avoid the danger zone and significantly lower the chances of finding yourself in a precarious situation.
How To Safely Operate Machinery
All warehouse employees should be trained on proper procedures for operating applicable machinery such as forklifts and power platforms, as well as heavy equipment. These safety standards should be followed at all times:
Only employees with the necessary training and/or licenses should be allowed to operate machinery
Overseers should be present in all training scenarios to ensure new employees are receiving proper instruction and taking all necessary precautions
Continued training should be implemented for tenured employees overtime and on any new equipment
All employees who operate working platforms shall be trained in recognizing preventative measures and the safety hazards associated with their individual work tasks.
All employees shall be educated in the personal fall arrest system inspection, care, use, and system performance
How to Safely Operate Power Tools
Power tools should also be handled with care. Follow these standards to ensure employees are protected from the pitfalls of using power tools:
Regular inspection, maintenance, and modification, when necessary
Proper instruction and training
Employees using hand and power tools shall be provided with the particular personal protective equipment necessary to protect them
Even when machinery or power tools aren’t involved, there can be threats to warehouse workers’ health and safety. Employees handling hazardous materials should understand proper material handling and storage procedures, and employees lifting heavy equipment or supplies should be provided with the tools necessary to do their job safely, such as proper lifting techniques and appropriate gear such as back braces and safety boots.
Wear the Right Gear
There are innumerable warehouse situations where protective clothing is necessary and should be required. For instance, when working with hazardous materials, gloves and masks should be worn; when working with flammables, fireproof clothing should be worn; when working in construction, hard hats and steel-toed boots should be worn. The right gear can be the saving grace in an otherwise fatal situation, making the difference between safety and injury or even death.
While personal protective equipment (PPE) will vary in every warehouse environment, all warehouse workers need proper footwear. Safety shoes provide stable, comfortable workwear in any condition and protect against a variety of potential foot injuries.
Workplace safety should be paramount to productivity in any situation. Ensuring your company is outfitted with the appropriate gear is the easiest way to prevent work-related injuries. Join the Boot World Corporate Footwear Program as part of your company’s health and safety program and protect the workers on your warehouse floor with the most comfortable safety shoes. The Boot World Corporate Footwear Program provides both an Employee Benefits Service that reduces out-of-pocket expenses for employees and a Mobile Footwear Store that makes safety boots easily accessible.
For further education and resources on warehouse safety, check out these additional workplace safety tips.