Warehouse safety is an integral part of operating a successful warehouse. However, there are a number of hidden dangers in your warehouse that can cause serious injury to workers or damage to inventory if the proper precautions are not in place, such as guardrails or high visibility tagging. Here are six hidden hazards to look out for in your warehouse.
1. Falling Inventory
When trying the optimize the space in the warehouse, many managers opt to maximize the vertical space by stacking inventory higher on their racking systems. However, if not done in compliance with OSHA standards, loose inventory can fall and crush unwary employees.
Always check the weight capacity of your shelving and racking unit and take care to use the proper stacking techniques. Also, ensure that employees wear adequate protective gear, and are trained to stay alert to potential falling dangers.
2. Body Strain
Poor ergonomics and repetitive motions are some of the major causes of body strain in the warehouse. These types of injuries often require significant rest leading to many missed days of work. For your business, this also means reduced productivity and efficiency. But, taking a few precautions can help prevent the majority of strain injuries.
Train warehouse workers in proper lifting technique and how to properly use picking equipment to avoid straining the back. Allow workers to take regular breaks or change tasks to avoid repetitive strain injuries.
3. Loading Dock Accidents
According to the latest OSHA statistics, loading dock accidents contribute to over 100 worker deaths each year due to vehicle accidents. Loading docks are the areas which see the most traffic come in and out daily, and many accidents occur due to poor worker or driver visibility.
To keep loading dock employees safe, install dock safety railings or a collapsible gate across the dock to prevent falls, and mirrors so that drivers can see other dock employees better.
4. Infection and Illness
Studies have shown that workplaces are some of the most heavily contaminated spaces with bacteria and viruses. Door handles, computer keyboards, forklift steering wheels, handrails, picking equipment, all these objects as well as many others, are home to millions of bacteria and viruses, many of which can cause serious illness.
The primary way these microorganisms spread is through the hands, so to keep your warehouse hygienically clean, encourage your workers to regularly wash their hands, and keep antibacterial liquid in handy places around the facility.
5. Fall Hazards
Fall hazards can be found all over the warehouse, including areas that are often overlooked. While you may have guardrails installed along stairways and mezzanine edges, other fall hazards can include the areas around working machinery or into the loading dock.
Installing guardrails of adequate height and strength along all unprotected edges and around machinery and other hazardous areas can protect your employees from injury.
6. Hazardous Chemicals
Even the warehouse needs a good clean every now and again. However, your maintenance team may need to use commercial grade chemical cleansers to get the job done. These chemicals are highly dangerous to unsuspecting warehouse employees, so they must be stored properly in a secure location.
You also may be storing hazardous materials in your warehouse without knowing it. Track all materials going in and out of your warehouse so you can take the proper precautions to protect the safety of your employees. There are also many OSHA standards regarding the handling and storage of hazardous materials, to make sure you are compliant, never store more than your fire suppression system can handle, ensure that staff is adequately trained in chemical handling, and keep signage and a flammable liquids storage cupboard for identifying these materials.
Keep your warehouse employees safe from these hidden hazards by taking a few precautions, such as proper training and installing high-visibility guardrails. Call our experts at Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc on 800-589-7225 (RACK), to talk about how you can make your warehouse a safe and more productive work environment.