Safe material handling and general warehouse safety are features of warehouse work that benefit everyone. For management, it means lower insurance liability and vulnerability, not paying out workers’ comp, and not losing labor time or productivity to injury. Most importantly, it means that their employees are not being injured in avoidable accidents. And for employees, obviously, not being injured is a pretty compelling benefit.
Many of the following potential hazards (and the strategies for avoiding them) may seem like common sense. However, it’s the day-to-day, rather than the exotic risks, responsible for injuries to warehouse workers who may take the risks for granted.
This one’s likely no surprise. When there are vehicles cruising around a warehouse, driven by someone whose vision is often obscured by the load, there are bound to be some accidents. Accidents can be the result of either driver or pedestrian error. Both parties get used to forklifts, they couldn’t not. And eventually, the often semi-perpetual honking of even the most attentive drivers can fade into the background for warehouse workers.
There’s no magic bullet for forklift safety. Drivers and those on foot simply need to remain alert. Forklift maintenance also needs to be prioritized and regularly carried out. Loads need to be both properly secured and a reasonable weight for the forks. One surefire way to reduce forklift accidents is to use them only when necessary. In tight spaces or other situations that call for it, use a heavy duty hand truck or a hand lift truck.
Know Your Limits and Use the Tools Available
Most warehouses are equipped with the tools necessary for the job. And much of the time, injuries occurring from the failure to use a tool or the use of the wrong tool isn’t a result of the proper tool not being there.
Instead, it can seem easier just to lift those empty pallets or move that stack of stock by hand rather than spending the time to get the pallet-jack or roll over those hand trucks. However, it becomes considerably less easy to do the job, or anything else, when a back is thrown out by carrying too much, stumbling while carrying something, or even just by twisting the wrong way with arms full. When in doubt, or when the job calls for it, opt for the equipment that makes the task safer.
Slipping and Tripping
It’s not all about whether to use the hand cart or the dolly; sometimes injuries can be the result of just walking from one place to another. When warehouse workers are complying with workplace safety standards, tripping is almost always the result of someone leaving something in the wrong place with high foot traffic. Avoiding the misplacement of stock or anything else is always important. At least as important is the checking, maintenance, and safe use of ladders. Especially considering that ladders are responsible for nearly half of all fatal falls in the U.S.
Meanwhile, the list of things that people can slip on is too long for this space, but can include wet or greasy floors, electrical cords or cables in the wrong place, sawdust, gravel, and weather hazards like ice and snow, as well as freshly polished or waxed floors, etc.
Basically, warehouse employees should always be aware of their surroundings. They should also always wear the appropriate personal protective equipment for the job, like close-toed shoes with good traction, gloves, and hard hats and eye protection when necessary. And they should obey the appropriate safety regulations. Doing so and using the appropriatee equipment for the job makes a warehouse workplace safer for everyone.
Magline’s suite of tools and equipment is so trustworthy the name “Magliner” has become an industry byword for sturdy, dependable, and tough materials handling solutions. If your company relies on the safe and reliable loading, unloading, and transport of stock, Magline will keep your business moving and growing. For over 70 years, Magline has been providing high-quality products, like their hand trucks, to help you handle whatever you’re moving with ease and safety in mind.
Find out more about Magline’s safe and dependable equipment at Magliner.com