Tips to Lower Accident Rates in Warehouses

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Working in a warehouse can be a dangerous proposition. The complexity of running the facility in an efficient and speedy manner combined with heavy equipment makes it hard to track everything, and the moment someone loses their focus or concentration, bad things can happen.

Safety officers for warehouses have a difficult job since they have to worry about everything, from unsafe forklift usage, improper product stacking, failure to use proper PPE and lockout/tagout procedures, and even repetitive stress injuries.

With all that, it should come as no surprise that according to OSHA, the fatal injury rate of the warehousing industry is higher than the national average for all industries. The fact is, we have the ability to lower the accident rates in our warehouses today.

While we don’t have time to handle all of the issues that one will face in securing a warehouse, we will touch on some of the bigger issues such as forklifts, material storage and ergonomics. Some of these are the biggest causes of accidents, injuries and deaths in any facility.

So let’s check out some of these tips and tricks to lower accident rates in your warehouse:

Forklift Safety:

  • Forklifts should meet the design and construction requirements in the American National Standard for Powered Industrial Trucks (ANSI B56.1-1969).
  • Nameplates and markings should be in place and maintained in legible condition.
  • Forklifts for hazardous location use should be appropriately marked and approved for such use.
  • Forklifts need to be properly positioned and brakes applied during maintenance checks and repairs
  • Forklift operators should have completed training and an evaluation conducted and certified by persons with the knowledge, training and experience to train operators and evaluate their performance.
  • The training program content should include all truck-related topics, workplace related topics and the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.178 for safe truck operation.
  • Refresher training and evaluation should be conducted whenever an operator has been observed operating the vehicle in an unsafe manner or has been involved in an accident or a near-miss incident.
  • Each operator’s performance should be evaluated at least once every three years.
  • Operators must observe all traffic regulations, including authorized plant speed limits.
  • All loads should be stable, safely arranged and fit within the rated capacity of the truck.
  • Trucks are regularly checked for safety before being placed into service.

Materials Storage

  • All loads must be stacked evenly and straight.
  • Heavier loads should be placed on lower or middle shelves.
  • Aisles and passageways must be maintained and in good repair and all obstructions removed.

 Ergonomics

  • Use powered equipment instead of requiring a manual lift for heavy materials.
  • Reposition the shelf or bin to lower the lifting height required by workers.
  • Ensure overhead lighting is sufficient for workers.
  • Keep floors clean and free of slip and trip hazards.

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