How to Improve Warehouse Worker Safety
June 14, 2018 by Susan Brooks
Workplace worker safety is always an important issue for companies. From slips and falls to repetitive strain injuries, there are a range of ways that employees can become injured or develop health issues as the result of their work. Employee positions within a warehouse can be particularly hazardous given the type of work performed and the equipment involved. Fortunately, there are many ways to reduce the safety risks companies and their workers could face.
Knowing how to work safely is the biggest step in helping employees keep themselves safe. A large portion of workplace accidents and injuries are due to common mistakes that workers make. While many areas have government regulations requiring companies provide a certain level of employee safety training, often companies and their employees benefit from doing more.
There are several categories of training that are key for employees to receive. Workers need to know how to use equipment and perform other tasks in a safe way. That could include how to move heavy boxes in a safe way or avoid injuries from repetitive motions. Employees next need to be aware of the risks that could be presented by the rest of the workplace. For example, workers need to know how to work safely around equipment and vehicles, even when they aren’t using them.
The next category of training is often missed by companies. Workers need to be informed about what to do in case of an emergency. Everything from when to call for emergency services to how to provide first aid could be critical when the seconds matter in responding to an emergency. Consider providing employees training on how to operate safety equipment like fire extinguishers and eye washes. Offering workers a chance to be trained in CPR and other first aid could also be valuable for both your employees and the surrounding community where they live.
Make sure any hazardous areas or materials are clearly labelled and employees know how to recognise those labels. Any employees working with or around hazardous materials should be aware of the proper handing required in their use, clean up, and disposal.
Mark off sections of the building where forklifts will operate and loading areas so that other employees know which areas to require special caution or that are reserved only for forklifts and other vehicles. Safety zones around equipment can prevent workers from becoming snagged as they walk by. Provide clearly marked areas for your suppliers and workers to stack or move materials so that they can access what they need without the risk of knocking over adjacent stacks of boxes. Locate the drop off and pick up locations for pallet delivery services near the loading area so that that access is fast and convenient.
Locate frequently used items at convenient heights for workers to reach. Keep heavier items on lower levels where they can be moved using dollies or pallet lifts and will present less risk of falling. Make sure there are clear guidelines on how high pallets or boxes can be stacked.
Provide routine inspection of safety equipment to make sure that fire extinguishers, eye washes, first aid kits, and fire alarms are all in working order. Periodically fire extinguishers need to be serviced to maintain their effectiveness. Restock first aid supplies when needed so that whatever your employees need is on-hand when required.
Remember, it takes time to set up and maintain a strong company safety program but the benefits can be incalculable. It is always a good investment in time and money to put the proper procedures in place and provide refreshers.