By 2022, there will be thousands of jobs available in the warehousing industry.
Warehousing is an attractive industry for many workers.
The job outlook is healthy, many warehousing jobs don’t require a higher degree, and — as long as you’re able to lift heavy objects and operate machinery — the training is simple.
However, warehousing jobs have their disadvantages. The biggest downfall is the safety risks — employees can work at high heights and with dangerous equipment. This is the perfect formula for a serious injury.
Whether you’re a warehouse owner or employee, it’s important to know the safety tips to ensure the job goes smoothly.
Report Your Injuries Immediately
First things first, let’s say you are injured. Don’t try and work through your injury.
Immediately report the injury to your superiors and receive medical attention. Even if the injury is minor, informing your superiors will ensure you can make a full recovery.
If you work in management, supervise your staff and look for any signs of injury. This includes physical signs (cuts, gashes, bruises, etc.) and behavioral signs (fatigue, dizziness, discomfort, etc.).
It’s also essential that management takes action when a staff member is injured. If you know the staff member follows safety protocols, they could be working on faulty equipment.
Wear Protective Gear
Never let your staff work on the floor unless they’re wearing protective gear at all times.
Examples include hard hats, safety goggles, steel-toe boots, leather gloves, and earplugs. Depending on the work that’s performed, it’s recommended workers wear first-resistant clothing.
If you’re working in management, always supply the equipment and ensure there’s enough for your whole staff.
The exception is if you have contractors or temp workers — however, providing the equipment ensures they’re protected from hazards.
Train and Follow Proper Lifting Techniques
The OSHA has a specific protocol for safe lifting. Warehouse staff is required to follow this protocol and management has to train staff members on these lifting techniques.
Train each new hire. Continue training as necessary. Require that employees practice these lifting techniques and read up on all current and new OSHA lifting standards.
As a manager, it’s also necessary that you supervise your staff to ensure they’re using the correct techniques.
Only Assign Certain Tasks to Licensed Employees
Certain warehousing duties require a license or certification. For example, if you want to operate a forklift, you need a forklift license. Don’t assign any forklift jobs to staff members who aren’t licensed to operate a forklift.
This rule shouldn’t only apply to forklifts or specific vehicles and machinery. You should train your staff in all vital roles and jobs before assigning them these jobs.
Let’s just say you hired a new employee and haven’t trained them to perform a specific job yet. Give that task to a more experienced staff member until you can train the new employee.
Execute All Emergency Procedures
Many emergency and disastrous situations can occur at the warehouse. These situations include a fire, a violent storm, and more. Always know the exact procedure for each disaster.
Clearly identify emergency exits and post your safety procedures around the warehouse. You should also keep your own evacuation and emergency plan.
The easiest safety precaution to follow is paying attention. Staying alert can help prevent an accident.
It’s also important to pay attention to equipment — you never know when a piece of machinery is faulty and you may not notice.
Another good example is crossing aisles. If you work in a large warehouse, there are many aisles and several staff members are operating different pieces of equipment.
Pay close attention when crossing aisles, whether you’re walking or operating machinery. This prevents an accident. When operating machinery, always keep your eye out for floor markings, lights, and signs.
Report Noncompliance to the OSHA
Any OSHA noncompliance should be reported directly to the OSHA.
This includes both noncompliant staff and management. Workers and management can report any employee who isn’t following the OSHA’s safety standards.
If you file a complaint, the OSHA will inspect the employer and will identify any workplace hazards.
Report Unsafe Behavior
This tip is for staff members. If you notice a colleague is behaving in an unsafe manner, you can report the employee to your superiors before filing a complaint with the OSHA.
The most common example is failing to wear protective gear or purposely operating machinery incorrectly.
Install a Security System
Are you having trouble supervising your staff? You can install a security system so you can keep track of your staff members, even when you’re not physically there.
Warehouse owners also have another huge risk — theft. Employee theft is more common than you think, especially in warehouses where your staff has access to potentially expensive products.
A security system is vital for this purpose. This service explains it all.
Know the Most Dangerous Equipment and Common Injuries
Forklifts are the most dangerous piece of equipment. Forklifts cause 85 deaths a year. Supervise employees on the forklift and regularly inspect your forklifts to ensure they’re not faulty.
It’s also essential to supervise employees on any piece of operational machinery to ensure there are no accidents. Regularly inspect all machinery to ensure it’s working properly.
You’ll also want to identify some of the most common warehouse injuries. Serious injuries include burns, falls, and injuries to the head and eyes. Minor injuries include cuts and scrapes, especially on the hands.
Additional Best Practices
While some of these best practices are common sense, it’s essential they’re exercised. Some of these best practices include:
- Don’t climb pellet racks
- Don’t climb ladders with heavy items in your hand (if items need to be stocked, let the machinery handle this task)
- Keep aisles clear and keep the warehouse clean
As a manager, you can enforce these standards and take appropriate measures if staff members disobey.
Stay Safe While Working in a Warehouse
Following these safety procedures is important to prevent employee injury and other risks such as employee theft.
Do you suspect your staff members are fooling around on the clock? Here’s how to stop them from stealing time.