Warehouse Safety

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), over 145,000 people work in more than 7,000 warehouses across the country. Despite the fact that warehouses may seem like a safe place to work, the fatal injury rate for the warehousing industry is higher than the national average for all industries.

Warehouses hold a variety of potential hazards, including unsafe use of forklifts, improper stacking of products, failure to use proper personal protective equipment (PPE), inadequate fire safety provisions, and repetitive motion injuries. These hazards can change from moment to moment, depending on what task you're performing, the equipment you're using, or the substances or materials you're handling.

Material handling is a major component of warehouse operations. Proper handling and moving of materials is key to ensuring a safe workplace. Whether you use power equipment or your own body to move materials, you should adhere to these general safety rules:

  • Check each load to decide the best way to move it
  • Check to see if there's space for the load at its destination
  • Use striping to delineate aisles and passageways, including doorways and loading dock areas
  • Keep aisles and passageways clear at all times
  • Always use safe lifting techniques
  • Use material handling equipment carefully and follow proper operating procedures
  • Never assume other equipment operators can see you or react in time to stop; assume that you're in his blind spot at all times
  • Look both ways and move slowly when emerging from aisles, doorways, or offices
  • Prohibit walking on pallets and using forklifts and pallet jacks for rides
  • Never drive a forklift or use other powered equipment unless you've been trained and authorized
  • When using a hand truck or pallet jack, be sure to load heavy objects on the bottom and secure bulky or awkward items
  • Push, rather than pull, manual material handling equipment whenever possible, and lean in the direction you're going
  • Be careful around conveyors, making sure not to get body parts or clothing caught in the machinery's moving parts
  • Make sure you and your co-workers know where the on/off and emergency stop buttons are on equipment they work on or around

In addition to following these guidelines, be sure to use signs and markers as a constant reminder to yourself and your workers to be safe. Keeping your property and workers safe in your warehouse will ensure a more productive workplace. We have a complete line of safety signs for your warehouse. If you have questions about which signs are right for you, give our Technical Support reps a call at 800-631-1246. They'll be happy to help you make the right choice.

Sources: www.osha.gov; www.safetydailyadvisor.com; www.setonblog.com

Northern Safety Co., Inc.
PO Box 4250. Utica, NY 13504-4250
Phone: 1-800-571-4646
Fax: 1-800-635-1591

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