Warehouses are busy, bustling environments, and with the proper planning and employee training, warehouses can be as safe as any other workplace. However, not all warehouses are as safe or as healthy as others. Warehouse managers must take the proper steps to ensure their workers’ health and safety, including addressing potential hazards. Warehouse safety hazards can range from equipment failure to hazards related to employee training, so it’s important for warehouse managers to not only be aware of the dangers in their environment but also to take immediate corrective measures.
Goods in warehouses are transported across large areas in the facility. If a forklift hits an obstacle, then it can cause an accident. Warehouses need to be as safe for forklift operators and employees as warehouses need to be safe for the products that pass through them.
Warehouses are often full of working equipment, from large forklifts to dollies to pallet jacks. All of these pieces of equipment have their own potential hazards, and warehouse workers must be trained to handle them effectively and properly. No one expects a forklift or other powered industrial truck to flip over, but warehouse workers should be aware of other common warehouse hazards and keep themselves safe.
Slips & Falls
Warehouses are very different from retail stores, with employees working in environments ranging from very cold to very hot temperatures, with constant exposure to high noise levels, fumes, dust, and forklifts. Warehouses are also typically staffed by many employees working at the same time, often with little or no supervision. These conditions result in a number of workplace injuries, including slips and falls, lifting injuries, and other physical accidents. It is common for employees to check via an attorney regarding the laws if something like this occurs.
Slips and falls are one of the most dangerous causes of workplace accidents since those accidents can lead to permanent disabilities, such as paralysis and death. While you might be more familiar with slip and fall accidents occurring at grocery stores and supermarkets, warehouse and distribution centers are just as dangerous. In fact, slip and fall accidents account for more than 30 percent of all workplace deaths.
In the warehouse, many workers deal with flammable and corrosive chemicals on a daily basis. These substances are dangerous, so it’s always important to heed safety warnings and instructions. Manual labor gives way to injuries, and the use of detailed safety equipment is imperative. From using cut-resistant gloves like the ones from unigloves.co.uk/ to defining how to use high-maintenance industrial vehicles, the workers should be given adequate resources and training to avoid accidents.
Many warehouses have hazardous materials present. Some warehouses are even required by law to store hazardous materials. Regardless of the reason for the dangerous materials, warehouses should always have a warehouse safety plan in place. They should also be stocked with proper safety equipment like PPEs and hazmat suits, in case emergencies such as spills or leaks need to be handled. It’s crucial to have this information readily available to prevent hazards and injuries.
Warehouses exist because storing goods in bulk is much more economical than storing them individually, and warehouses are large spaces. This makes them ideal locations for fires, which are both common and very dangerous. Warehouses typically contain flammable liquids such as gasoline, diesel, kerosene, or oil and materials that will burn easily, such as paper, cardboard, sawdust, rubber, plastic, and cloth. One of the leading causes of warehouse fires is flammable liquids. Because many warehouses store these liquids in large drums or containers, accidental spills and leaks can easily be an issue. While it is possible to alleviate the risks of such accidents, they cannot completely be avoided. The best that warehouse managers can do is be prepared. Some steps they can take include keeping fire extinguishers within reach of everyone, making first aid boxes easily accessible as well as being informed about places such as Burn and Reconstructive Centers of America (learn here, if interested), or elsewhere, where any casualties can be tended to quickly.
Warehouse safety is an important part of keeping employees healthy and safe. Even though warehouses may not be the most inviting place to work, without the right precautions, warehouses can be hazardous places to work. Therefore, warehouse safety is especially important for dock workers who operate dock equipment such as forklifts, excavators, and engines.