Guide to Warehouse Safety- 7 Rules to Keep Staff Safe

A warehouse can be a complex space with many moving parts, which need to be closely monitored to ensure worker safety.

The combination of people, machines, and deadlines can create numerous warehouse safety hazards. To keep staff and stock safe it is vital to have a strategy to stay compliant with all regulations and create a healthy work environment.

5 Most Common Safety Hazards

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Warehouses can have a number of safety hazards, the five most common areas include-

  1. Forklifts.
As useful as they can be, forklifts account for a large percentage of injuries in warehouses every year. Most of the time, the issue is caused by operator error or lack of knowledge. Therefore, employees need to be properly trained on how to safely operate a forklift in a warehouse setting.

  1. Falls/slips.
Nearly 30% of workplace injuries are due to slips, falls, or trips, according to the CDC. These types of workplace incidents can be avoided through proper training, and risk management techniques. These include repairing walkways, emphasizing cleanliness in the warehouse, and using non-slip materials in high-risk areas.

  1. Loading docks.
When it comes to safety checks, loading docks should be at the top of the list. The height of most warehouse docks presents a serious risk of injury if an employee should slip or fall. In addition, machinery used around the docks, such as forklifts, also presents a risk because they could easily flip over.

A good solution to protect workers in and around loading docks is to install barriers or guardrails. This can help create a safer space for employees to load and unload cargo.

  1. Hazardous materials.
There are various materials in a warehouse that could be considered hazardous. A good rule of thumb is to carefully handle any material that could cause physical harm to an employee. Following regulations when it comes to the storage of hazardous materials is the best way to keep employees safe.

  1. Repetitive motion.
Although most people think of machinery or materials as being the biggest safety risk to workers in a warehouse, repetitive motion can also lead to injury. Employees who perform the same motion over and over put themselves at risk for back or neck injuries.

7 Rules to Keep Workers Safe

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A safe and functional warehouse is essential to business productivity. The following seven key rules can help to ensure a warehouse is running safely and efficiently.

  1. Identification
It is impossible to fix safety issues if they are not identified. This is why regular inspections of warehouses are needed. Look for cracks in the floor or slippery surfaces and have them fixed before someone gets hurt.

Go beyond identifying safety problems and look for potential hazards. Have any potential issues corrected before they become an issue. These can include loose cables or obstacles from odd angles. Small objects lying around can become tripping hazards, so it is important to watch out for those as well.

  1. Training
Having employees properly trained can help alleviate a good portion of safety issues at a warehouse. However, it is also important that workers regularly update their training and safety skills.

This can be done through an internal training program or having employees attend external training workshops that cover topics like warehouse safety or protection while operating small machinery.

  1. Storage
A warehouse is used to store stock and other items, but safety problems can arise if these items are not stored properly. Not storing the inventory properly can not only damage the product but it can also cause injuries to warehouse workers.

For example, if items are stacked too high on a top shelf, they could topple and injure a nearby employee. Keeping stock stacked neatly, in smaller numbers can reduce the risk of injury.

Safety issues can also occur due to the methods staff members use to handle lifting and moving stock around. Be sure to instruct warehouse employees on proper lifting techniques so they can avoid being hurt.

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4. Cleanliness
Just like storing stock and other items safely, keeping the warehouse neat and clean can also go a long way in reducing safety hazards.

Ensure that employees are properly instructed on what belongs where. They should also understand that if something spills, cleaning it up is a priority over other tasks. Having warehouse workers be responsible for keeping their workspace clean is one of the best ways to create a safer space.

5. Safety Equipment
Employees should use appropriate safety gear to protect themselves when necessary. Items like hardhats or goggles may take a little extra time to put on but reinforce the importance of such equipment to warehouse workers.

It would be senseless to see someone injured just because they tried to save a couple of minutes. Supply warehouse workers will extra safety equipment like high visibility vests or other personal protective equipment (PPE) to create a safer warehouse environment.

6. Regular Inspection

It is common for employees to forget or become complacent in their jobs, which is why regular inspections are important. These inspections are opportunities to identify safety concerns before they become problems.

Look for areas that are messy or equipment that hasn't been properly put away and remind employees about the safety protocols for the warehouse. Regular inspections also help to monitor the wear and tear of equipment and machinery. If something needs to be repaired or replaced, do so as soon as possible.

7. Communication

Effective communication is a key element in cultivating warehouse safety. It can come into play in different ways, and in different situations.

For example, letting everyone know about stock movement or plans to rearrange an area of the warehouse puts everyone on alert for warehouse safety issues. Consistent communication can help everyone to feel valued and to prioritize safety.

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Warehouse management is an important aspect of running a fast-paced business. Ensuring a safe environment for warehouse workers can help a business to avoid accidents and promote productivity and growth.

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