Top 4 Warehouse Safety Hazards & How to Manage Them

//Top 4 Warehouse Safety Hazards & How to Manage Them

Running a business that requires storage at a distribution center or warehouse requires a lot of care and attention. Specifically, you need to ensure the safety of your workers, space, and assets to find success. Managing your inventory, working efficiently, and protecting your staff don’t always go hand-in-hand. However, finding the balance between these priorities is the top priority. You can begin to manage all of these goals by hiring and training the managers on your warehouse floor to prioritize safety. There are many hazards associated with warehousing, so proper training for your managers is key. Make sure they know everything they can about the following top four warehouse safety hazards.

Why warehouse safety is so important for your business

With so much depending on the effectiveness and efficiency of your warehouse, disorganization happens easily. This disorganization can lead to accidents with your staff, equipment or inventory. In these cases, the liability is on you, as the business owner, to make good on any issues that arise. With warehouse safety at the forefront of your mind, you mitigate a large part of the possibility of accidents or problems. Common warehouse accidents include:

  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Forklift/heavy machinery accidents
  • Falling objects
  • Rack collapses
  • Strain and sprain accidents

These accidents are avoidable with the use of some warehouse safety best practices. Make sure to put best practices into place, maintain safety training for your staff and stay up-to-date on the latest requirements from OSHA.

Top 4 warehouse safety hazards to watch out for

The following four warehouse safety hazards are the most common causes of accidents.

  1. Storage of materials

    1. When stacking loads and organizing inventory, accidental slip and fall hazards are common. If the assets are improperly stored, accidents may occur. To make sure accidents are avoided, keep all of the aisles clear. Place all inventory evenly on pallet racks and position it properly. Heavier loads should go on the bottom shelves. Workers should focus on moving one load at a time to ensure safety.
  2. Forklifts

    1. As critical pieces of warehouse equipment, forklifts are commonly used daily by your warehouse staff. However, when operated incorrectly can cause serious damage to operators, nearby workers and property. According to OSHA, the unsafe use of forklifts is the most often cited hazard in warehousing operations. Be safe with forklifts by ensuring all forklift operators complete certified training. Perform regular additional training and evaluation when an operator is operating the vehicle unsafely. Make managers also perform daily pre-start forklift equipment inspections to check for damage.
  3. Docks

    1. One of the most dangerous parts of the warehouse facility is the loading dock. The combination of heavy machinery, such as forklifts, and the edge of the dock can be very hazardous to a worker who isn’t properly trained or isn’t paying attention.  Make sure your forklift operators are attentive and drive slowly on dock plates. You can also make sure dock edges are clear and safe to support loads. Your floor manager should post warning signs and ensure mechanisms are in place to prevent people from getting near docks.
  4. Conveyor belts

    1. Commonly, conveyor equipment is used in warehouse facilities to transport inventory. However, this machinery poses a serious danger to workers. Workers can get stuck in the equipment and be struck by falling objects. To protect your staff, ensure there is proper safeguarding equipment between the conveyor and the worker. This protects against the entanglement of clothing, body parts and hair. In addition, your manager should train employees on proper lockout tag-out procedures during conveyor maintenance and repairs.

Warehouse safety training: Quick tips

  • Keep the warehouse floor clean and tidy.
  • Schedule regular warehouse safety training for your staff.
  • Discuss any accidents in the warehouse and make necessary updates.
  • Post signage that communicates safety rules and regulations in the facility.
  • Double-check all of the safety equipment in your warehouse.

Keep a safe warehouse with Specialized Storage Solutions

For more than 30 years, Specialized Storage Solutions provides warehouse solutions to customers. We want to be your strategic partner in building the safest and most efficient warehouse environment possible. With custom solutions built to regulatory standards and years of expertise, our team of experienced professionals will come to your warehouse, assess your needs and discuss custom solutions that are right for you. Reach out to us today to learn more!