The rate of fatal injuries for warehouse work has been increasing majorly in the past few years and that has sent alarming waves through the supply chain & logistics field. Warehouses are filled with potential safety hazards; however, employers and workers can lessen these risks by taking the necessary precautions & safety measures.
Knowing about the common dangers is important in aiding protection. So here are six of the most common warehouse safety hazards and how to avoid them.
Electrical equipment can present potential various risks if relevant procedures are not being adhered to. Proper wiring, making use of the right equipment and maintaining quick access to important items are all steps that help avoid any dangerous outcomes.
Having multiple extension cords or power strips for one device is a fire hazard and can also be a tripping risk. Extension cords are only ever appropriate as a temporary solution. If it happens that the warehouse needs a cord every day for several weeks, there needs to be an electrician called in instead to install a line and an outlet. Remember to ensure that the electrical room doesn’t have clutter and has breakers that are easily accessible in the event something goes wrong.
Slips and falls
Preventing slips and falls may seem like an obvious factor, but the warehouse environment can make them more common and dangerous. Employees may come across tripping threats and may have to work at heights, surrounded by equipment they could hit during their fall.
Warehouses then need proper safety training and safety procedure implementation to help avoid these types of injuries. The workplace should highlight awareness of surroundings and clear clutter and debris off of floors, doorways and other areas employees frequent. Mark wet floors too and consider recommendations that state that any location where an employee could fall a metre or more should be blocked off with a chain, rope or any other barrier.
While on the subject of falls, another regular warehouse accident involves workers being struck by falling objects. It was reported that in 2013, this caused 20 percent of reported injuries and deaths. Such incidents can be serious depending on what the object is and how much it weighs.
To avert this hazard, employees need training on safe handling and storage of materials. Employers should also make it a point to conduct safety checks regularly. Workers need to stack objects evenly and straight while also interlocking, blocking and limiting the height of piles. Additionally, they need to remove one item at a time too from shelving.
Operating forklifts is one of the high risk jobs in the warehouse. Not using forklifts properly results in numerous injuries & deaths every year and overturned forklifts are responsible for about 25 percent of those deaths. Improper operation has risk on both the driver and the workers around them.
Employees need to be trained thoroughly and should enrol for an OHSA- approved safety course and become certified to use forklifts. Individuals operating the machines should know about its capacity load and be careful not to overload it. They also need to be aware of their surroundings at all times and drive cautiously. Safety inspections should also be carried out where the equipment is concerned before it is ever used.
Chemicals can be very dangerous despite the fact that they are a necessity sometimes. Some chemicals are risky at any time you utilize them while others are only dangerous when not handled properly. Substances that are relatively safe in the start can become hazardous over time. For example, when stored for about a year, ether can degrade into peroxide, which is explosive.
Every company that makes use of chemicals needs to implement a control system. All containers used to store chemicals should be labelled with their contents and expiration date. There needs to be a material safety data sheet for every chemical used. Additionally, workers that handle these materials need training on how to handle them properly; storage and disposal; and they also have to know what to do in the case of a spill, chemical burn or other accidents.