The warehouse industry reports nearly 15,000 job-related accidents and injuries every year. How do you keep your company from contributing to these statistics? Keep reading to learn how to avoid common warehouse safety issues and on-the-job accidents.
- Train, train, train
Sure, you offer safety training as part of your onboarding process. But what have you done with your employees lately? Plan some refresher training sessions - perhaps one per month - each focused on a different safety topic. Make them interactive to help the material stick and keep your workers engaged during the process.
- Be prepared
What hazards exist in your warehouse that you can create a mitigation plan for? Some examples could include dealing with fire and weather or handling chemicals and hazardous materials. Whatever areas of concern you have, come up with a plan on how you'll deal with each in the case of an emergency, document it, and inform your employees.
- Watch the forklifts
Forklift safety is a big concern in a warehouse. When vision is limited, loads aren't secured properly, or other workers are inattentive, it's easy for an everyday lift to become a serious accident. Make sure all your forklift drivers are certified to avoid injuries.
- Eliminate hazards
Do you have an area that's always slippery when the concrete gets wet? Have it textured to improve traction. Do you use dangerous equipment? Fence it off to avoid accidents. If you can reduce, modify, or eliminate hazards, you'll have fewer injuries.
- Get serious about safety equipment
Providing safety equipment to employees is a good start, but incorporating strict policies that include consequences for employees who don't wear safety gear is even more critical. Sure, sometimes wearing a back brace is a pain, but it's not a permanent one!
- Label danger zones
Need to do a forklift load in a difficult aisle? Fence it off and make sure you have a couple spotters nearby. Have workers in a high voltage area? Erect a safety cage to prevent accidental contact. By labeling dangerous areas, you raise worker awareness and limit legal issues that can come from on-the-job injuries.
- Encourage safe lifting
Not surprisingly, back injuries are prevalent in a warehouse environment. The best way to pick up a heavy item is to use your knees to lift, rather than straining your back by lifting with straight legs. Make sure workers have back braces and know how to lift safely.
- Reduce attention deficit
One of the best ways for workers to avoid injury is to simply improve their situational awareness. Make sure workers are in an environment that makes it possible to stay focused on the task at hand by eliminating unnecessary distractions.
By increasing safety throughout the warehouse, you can lower the accident rates and your overhead expenses.
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