Warehouse Safety: 3 Common Warehouse Hazards and How to Prevent Them

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Warehouse can be a hazardous place to work. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reported that there are more than 5000 workers getting fatal injury during work in 2016, followed by 1,252 roadway incidents, 849 falls, slips, and trips, and 500 homicides in all sectors of logistics. Not only reduce productivity and cost financially, fatal injuries caused by warehouse hazards can also traumatise other employees. In extreme cases, it can even lead to employee’s death and you often have to face the employment law.  

Desiderius Erasmus once said, “Prevention is better than cure.”

That being said, it is better to acknowledge and prevent the causes before it occurs. There are several injuries that frequently happen to warehouse workers: slip and fall, injury during pushing, pulling, and reaching, as well as material handling/forklift accidents. Here are top three areas where accidents commonly take place in warehouse and its prevention.

01     Docks

About 25 percent injuries happen during the process of loading docks which include truck separation from dock and fall from it. This type of incidents particularly occurs when a forklift backs off the platform and falls on the operator. Therefore, ensuring safety around loading docks is critical.

To prevent loading docks incident, you should always remind your employees to close the dock doors when a truck is not at the dock. However, your workers might think that it is easier to see trucks coming when the dock is open. For this reason, you can install a ventilation which will enable them to see the trucks.

02     Forklifts

Workers are usually comfortable using forklifts as it will ease their jobs. Sometimes, they become carried away, which in some cases can lead to carelessness. Forklift accidents come in two basic ways. First is driving into something. For instance, you hit racks or worst, a person which can lead to a fatal injury. Second is mishandling materials and this could be the result of overstacking a forklift. This incident can lead to damaged stock, high waste and mobile hazard, and as well as endangering anyone else around the area.

To reduce the risk of forklift damage, you should make sure that only trained employees are assigned to operate this equipment. Other employees might know how to operate, yet if they are not trained, never allow them to operate this type of machine. Providing regular training on how to use forklift for your employees can also help to reduce the risk that might occur.  

03     Manual lifting and handling

This type of hazard can occur when your employees try to lift heavy objects without help, either from a machine or other employees. As a result, injuries can occur all of sudden or sometimes the physical damage can only be seen after certain period of time. Among the most common health problems felt by employees is lower back pain. It is estimated that 40 to 50 percent warehouse workers experience this type of back and shoulder pain injury. If this happens continuously, it won’t be good for employees’ health and company productivity. Not to mention, this might affect employee’s future career and the company should take responsibility for such work-related injuries.

To prevent the risk, you should always caution your employee to never lift heavy goods or loads by themselves. You can modify your warehouse to minimise this practice by relying on of robots and necessary tools. You can also provide proper training for employees so they can lift heavy loads without risking their safety.

Next read: 4 Common Warehouse Problems and Its Solutions

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