Warehouses are notorious for unseen and potential dangers. Warehouse safety needs to be a priority and top concern for all those involved in the operations of a warehouse, including warehouse workers, supervisors, trainers, and managers. Unfortunately, and yet understandably, workplace accidents, injuries, and even deaths are commonplace, mostly due to the nature of the work involved with warehouse operations. In fact, more accidents and injuries occur in warehouses than in any other type of workplace.
However, warehouse workplace accidents and injuries can be reduced simply by having all warehouse personnel follow some basic warehouse safety tips, rules, and precautions at all times. It’s important that everyone involved in warehouse operations know, understand, and follow proper warehouse safety precautions to help prevent and reduce workplace accidents and injuries.
Warehouse Safety Training
The best way to ensure everyone is on board with the warehouse’s safety rules is to hold mandatory warehouse safety training for all warehouse personnel. This can be done in a half-day session, a full-day session, or extended to last a week (with, for example, just a few hours of training per day), depending on what works best for the warehouse staff. This training should be a mandatory component of employment with the warehouse, and should include a safety test afterward to help determine who is ready and who needs to be retrained and retested.
So what type of warehouse safety precautions should be covered in the training and should be followed on a day-to-day basis? Here are some warehouse safety tips and topics that are important to cover, understand, and—most importantly—follow:
Hazardous Materials Safety
All warehouse employees must learn how to follow proper safety precautions when handling any hazardous materials that are stored and used in the warehouse. This should be covered as part of the training, and all material-handling procedures followed judiciously.
Machinery Operations Safety
Learning how to operate all warehouse machinery properly and safely is an important component of overall warehouse safety. Each employee should learn the proper procedures for operating all the machinery in the warehouse, which will go a long way in preventing workplace accidents and injuries.
One of the most important safety tips to follow in a warehouse is forklift safety. Because forklifts are used regularly and frequently in warehouses, and are linked to numerous warehouse accidents and injuries, learning about and following forklift safety procedures is essential. For example, warehouse personnel must actually be certified to operate a forklift before driving one. Untrained personnel should not operate a forklift, even for “just a few minutes.” An incorrect maneuver can lead to an accident—sometimes a fatal one—in just a few seconds. Certified forklift drivers should also operate a forklift only when the path is clear from debris, spills, and other workers.
Dock safety refers to following safety precautions in and around the docking area of the warehouse, which is where cargo is delivered and shipped and is typically a very busy area.
Hardhat Safety and Falling Items
Falling items and cargo is a potential hazard throughout the warehouse. All warehouse employees should be required to wear hardhats when working in any part of the warehouse. Coupled with this warehouse safety tip is including safety training on how to properly and safely stack and store items on racks and shelves to help reduce the potential of falling items in the first place.
Warehouse personnel can prevent or reduce painful back injury to themselves by following proper lifting procedures for lifting, carrying, and otherwise handling heavy items in the warehouse.
First Aid and Fire Safety
All warehouse personnel should be trained in First Aid and CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) and should know where to find and how to use First Aid kits. Workers should also know where to find and how to use fire extinguishers, and there should be a fire evacuation plan (including fire drills) in place.