A Guide to Warehouse Safety
Warehouse safety is an essential cornerstone of warehouse management at Crown LSP Group. With e-commerce rapidly increasing in popularity, warehouse services are in demand more than ever. To ensure your workforce is safe and productive, you must have experienced safety staff and create effective safety procedures.
Why Is Warehouse Safety Important?
With online purchasing seeing a record increase, merchants are turning to third-party logistics companies like Crown LSP Group and their warehouse facilities to store, package and ship their goods.
To accommodate the demand, warehouses are hiring more employees than ever to perform a wide variety of tasks. Providing a safe work environment for a growing staff is vital in retaining workers and creating a culture that looks after everyone. Injuries ranging from personal injury to falls and crushing accidents put a significant strain on both the safety culture and employee-employer relationship.
Making efforts to create warehouse safety plans and ensure all employees are aware of the potential dangers is an excellent first step toward maintaining workers’ health and safety. You can avoid incidents by following warehouse safety guidelines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and integrating safety checklists for various warehouse safety issues.
Top Warehouse Safety Challenges
Warehouses can be dangerous places if the proper safety actions haven’t been addressed. Inadequate training, failure to heed hazard warnings and improper manual lifting are among the most common safety issues that lead to injury and even death every year.
Awareness of safety issues and dangers around a warehouse is the best way to proactively tackle workplace accidents. The better safety coordinators can identify dangerous situations, create a plan and communicate the plan to the workers, the safer everyone will be. This means the right people must be selected for the warehouse safety management team, and they must be able to instruct others in the dangers of warehouses and proper safety procedures.
When it comes to power equipment operation, operators must be sufficiently trained and licensed, even if a third party needs to be hired to perform the task. Forklift accidents make up a large portion of warehouse incidents that result in serious injuries and death, and therefore, training and licensing should be taken very seriously.
Modern warehouses require workers to perform many repetitive movements quickly throughout a shift, including standing, twisting, crouching and reaching for objects. If not performed correctly, these movements can lead to repetitive strain injuries, including muscle, tendon and ligament damage. To prevent these injuries, warehouse safety coordinators must teach workers how to move correctly, take sufficient breaks and ask for help when necessary.
Hazard warnings indicating danger along with barricades to prevent workers and equipment from entering areas or going over ledges are critical in warehouse environments — ensuring all areas are adequately lit falls under this category.
Warehouse Safety Standards
OSHA provides guidelines for their warehouse safety requirements in an easy-to-read pocket guide called The Warehousing Worker Safety Series. The guide breaks down the 10 most accident-prone areas most frequently cited for violations.
About 100 employees are killed and 95,000 injured every year while operating forklifts. Forklift roll-overs account for the majority of these accidents. OSHA stresses the importance of training forklift drivers adequately and evaluating them regularly. Additionally, drivers should routinely inspect and maintain their forklifts.
OSHA states that hazard communication constitutes a large percentage of warehouse safety managers’ responsibility. Covering holes and wall openings to ensure equipment and workers don’t fall through is essential. OSHA also recommends clearly labeling and organizing dangerous goods and chemicals and correctly displaying Material and Safety Data Sheets.
Employees should be supplied and equipped with the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) required for their tasks and should be routinely trained in the equipment’s proper operation. The most common PPE required in warehouses include:
- Respiratory masks
- Hard hats
- High visibility safety vests
- Steel toe boots
OSHA includes electrical system design and wiring, mechanical power transmission and portable fire extinguishers as areas for warehouse safety managers to pay particular attention to. It’s critical that licensed professionals, such as electrical and mechanical engineers, perform all electrical wiring and system design. The dangers posed by improper wiring can lead to severe injury or death of warehouse workers.
Having proper fire extinguisher locations and training employees on how to use them is especially important in warehouses storing flammable materials. Evacuation plans and procedures should also be well thought out, documented and taught to workers. Regular evacuation drills are a good idea to make sure everyone is following the plan.
Warehouse Safety Checklists
Safety checklists are a convenient way to ensure your facilities and employees perform their tasks safely. At Crown, our safety checklists cover general warehouse safety, forklift operation and manual lifting.
General Warehouse Safety Checklist
Because every warehouse has a different layout, stores different materials and requires different types of employees to operate, you need to tailor your general warehouse safety checklist to your specific needs. It should focus on safety issues that stand out as being the most dangerous or require the most focus to address. Items often on a general warehouse safety checklist include the following:
- Warehouses should be well ventilated, and the temperature kept comfortable for all occupants.
- Hazards should be clearly marked, and leading edges blocked off to prevent falls or roll-overs.
- All equipment should be equipped with emergency stops or power-downs.
- Employees should receive ergonomic training and coaching to maintain realistic work expectations and take sufficient breaks to prevent overwork.
- Employees should be trained to operate fire extinguishers and be thoroughly familiar with emergency safety procedures and evacuation drills.
Forklift Operation Checklist
Forklift operation and storage, including loading, unloading and stacking checklists, can include the following items:
- Forklift operators must be appropriately trained and licensed.
- Forklift operators must always wear seatbelts, operate the forklift in approved, well-lit areas and not let anyone else ride on or in the forklift.
- Forklifts should not be operated in any way other than their intended use. This includes ensuring the lift is not overloaded and not lifting loads too high.
- Forklift operators must ensure other workers in the area are aware of their presence by using lights, horns and backup alarms as necessary.
- Place heavier items on lower shelves and ensure they are straight and evenly stacked.
- Store dangerous goods in designated areas.
- Clearly indicate maximum stacking distance on shelving and adhere to height limitations.
- Distribute loads on shelving to balance their load across the shelving unit.
Manual Lifting Checklist
Manual lifting causes a significant number of worker injuries every year. Workers should learn proper lifting techniques to complete these tasks safely and effectively. Some points on an ergonomics lifting checklist can include:
- Use power equipment to lift materials whenever possible.
- Teach workers proper lifting techniques and remain diligent in coaching them.
- Use your legs to lift and keep your back in a neutral position.
- Ask for assistance if a load is too heavy.
- Ensure all areas of the warehouse are appropriately marked and well lit.
- Enforce the wearing of proper personal protective equipment at all times.
- Allow injured workers to take sufficient time to recover and return only when fully ready.
Warehouse safety checklists are an essential part of a site safety program and can help supervisors and managers quickly making sure their workers perform their tasks safely with all appropriate measures in place. Simply having a brief list of safety tips can aid supervisors in maintaining safety as they perform their daily tasks.
Improve Warehouse Operations With Crown LSP Group
Crown LSP Group provides warehousing and logistics services to meet the needs of any business. Whether your business needs additional storage space with temperature control and security systems or shipping at a moment’s notice, Crown LSP can provide a tailored solution to meet your needs. In addition, Crown LSP Group can assist you in your efforts to improve your warehouse operations.
Located in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, Crown LSP is strategically positioned to freight any shipment to three-quarters of the U.S. population within 12 hours. This means you can rely on Crown LSP to store your materials or products while you use your commercial floor space for more productive means. Contact Crown LSP Group today for more information or request a quote.