Warehouses can be hazardous. And that’s often especially so if there has been a long period of time with no accidents or incidents. It’s easy to get complacent when it comes to warehouse safety and let awareness slide. However, if you want to ensure a safe environment it’s important to stay on top of the most common causes of warehouse accidents and, in particular, how you can prevent them.
1. Falling accidents
You don’t have to be dealing with serious heights for accidents to occur where falls are concerned. In fact, almost half of workplace fall injuries occur from 15 feet or lower. To avoid fall accidents it’s essential to prevent staff climbing ladders to pick items and insist that other retrieval mechanisms are used, such as automated systems or a forklift.
2. Slips and trips
A simple slip on a wet warehouse floor can do a lot of damage – that’s why this remains the top cause of workplace injuries. There are a number of different ways to help prevent accidents that can occur like this, such as ensuring that your warehouse is well organised and not covered in stray cables, piles of boxes or disorganised packing materials. Fill in cracks on the floor so they aren’t a trip hazard and have a policy in place for cleaning up spills.
3. Motion issues
A large number of physical injuries arise from motion issues every year, including repetitive motion and not lifting items properly. There are lots of ergonomic solutions that can support staff and it’s worth considering warehouse automation for the basic, repetitive tasks that can often do the most damage.
4. Toxic and harmful substances
The damage that can be done by harmful substances such as a corrosive acid, is extensive. It’s essential to ensure that your employees have proper protective gear – such as gloves – and that rooms where harmful substances are being used are well ventilated. Ensure that there are specific processes in place for handling anything toxic or potentially harmful and that employees know how to react quickly if an incident occurs.
5. Hazardous energy
This is essentially a release of energy from equipment – such as a machine that suddenly starts working – which can trap or injure employees. The easiest way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to use a lock out system so that equipment can only release energy when it’s safe to do so.
6. Heavy machinery
Forklifts in particular present serious potential for accidents and cause a lot of injuries every year. Proper training for employees is essential, as is ensuring that all heavy machinery in your warehouse is well maintained and in a good state of repair.
7. Walking accidents
In a warehouse, someone carrying items walking into the path of another person, or a forklift, for example can cause multiple injuries. Make sure you have signs for anyone on foot in an area that could be hazardous for them and consider barriers or barricades.
These are simple ways to ensure that your warehouse is a safer place for everyone in it. From automated warehouse systems to specific safety measures there is a lot you can do to be prepared.