If things are going well, your warehouse will be busy and in constant motion. However, this activity can increase the chance of injuries. To keep things humming, you need a consistent focus on safety, with every worker committed to maintaining compliance. In other words, all employees should follow the best safety practices in order to protect everyone’s health and perpetuate the highest levels of productivity.
In many ways, the warehouse represents the hub of business activities. It’s where sales and fulfillment meet, making the facility the central connection between you and your customers. Unfortunately, it’s also something of a safety trap. The very fact that the warehouse remains busy and in constant movement makes it the source of a large number of workplace accidents.
Government statistics indicate that warehouses rank among some of the most dangerous workplace environments. In 2018, the most recent year for which data are available, the incidence rate for non-fatal injuries for transportation and warehouse employees came in at 4.5%. That means that nearly one out of every 20 warehouse workers suffered some form of injury during the year.
The same set of government figures puts that warehouse number in stark context. The 4.5% incidence rate for warehouse employees came in well above the average for private industry in general, which clocked in at 2.8%. It also marked the second-highest figure among major industries in terms of workplace danger. It was only topped by agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, with a 5.3% incidence rate, and showed a higher rate than industries like construction, manufacturing, and mining.
How can you minimize these injury risks? A few basic precautions can avoid most accidents. But everyone has to be on the same page.
Here are the warehouse safety precautions that every employee should follow:
Know the Dangers
The first step is understanding the risk. From their initiation at the company, employees should learn what to look out for and what dangerous situations to avoid. This comes from a robust training program and a follow-up process that makes sure every employee has internalized the right lessons.
Keep Things Clean
Slips and falls represent a major cause of workplace injuries. Keeping a clear work area prevents most of these hazards. Clean up any spills to avoid potential slipping hazards. At the same time, keep aisles and walkways clear of obstructions.
Learn How to Use Equipment Properly
Warehouses often involve heavy machinery. Trucks pull into shipping and receiving areas, while forklifts carry inventory to various locations. These can pose significant safety risks. Make sure everyone understands how to use the equipment they are using.
Be Aware of Others
Workers can improve the company’s safety profile by watching their own actions and keeping themselves out of harm’s way. That’s only the first step, though. Avoiding accidents and injuries represents a team activity. Employees also have to look out for each other.
The COVID outbreak has moved the term “PPE” into the mainstream. But these safety tools represent more than just anti-virus masks. Employees should wear all the proper equipment to keep themselves safe. This could include gloves, hard hats, and eye protection – whatever is appropriate for their particular warehouse task.
Reaching the maximum level of safety requires everyone to work together. Workers and employers need to understand the fundamental steps necessary to ensure everyone’s health. A strong staffing agency, like SmartTalent, helps make this possible, by perfectly matching companies and workers.
Contact SmartTalent today to find out more.