Warehouses can be dangerous places to work. It’s crucial to understand warehouse hazards because they can lead to severe injury or even death. The critical thing to remember, however, is that most injuries and fatalities can be prevented. Let’s identify some potential hazards that could be found in your facility.
Be Aware Of Your Storage And Stacking System
Storage and racking systems are integral to keeping your facility organized, but they could collapse if they’re improperly installed or damaged. Hazards associated with racking include:
- Partial or total failure, which is a collapse of the racking system
- Displaced material or damage due to lift trucks colliding with the racking materials
- Material falling from racks when improperly stored
- Poor layout requires a material flow evaluation
Loading docks can be dangerous also. We have to look at stats from the workplace forklift safety solutions and insurance board to see that shipping and receiving areas can expose workers to multiple high-risk hazards. Over the last ten years, workers have suffered severe injuries or fatality from being pinned between a lift truck and loading dock. Fatality can also occur when a person is pinned between a loading dock and a trailer, struck by or run over by a truck, hit by falling items that workers didn’t secure. Worst of all, workers have been seriously hurt or even killed due to the premature removal of trailers.
Workers in shipping and receiving areas can also expose themselves to hazards involving external trucking firms that deliver and carry loads.
Slips, Trips, And Falls Cause Lost Time
Let’s not forget slips, trips, and falls. These injuries continue to be an issue in most workplaces. According to WSAV, almost 20% of all lost-time injury claims are caused by slips, trips, and falls in a warehouse. These injuries can be caused by slippery surfaces, possibly because of oil or grease, or even seasonal trip hazards like snow and ice. Slips and falls can also be caused by improper ladder use, changes in walkway levels, slopes on secure mats, debris and items stored on pedestrian walkways, and falls from working at heights.
Material handling is also a real problem for warehouse workers. Injuries caused by lifting or moving items account for almost 40% of WSMV claims. These injuries are caused by things like overexertion from working with awkward postures or lifting techniques.
Warehouses Pose Unique Dangers To Workers
Warehouses also have many additional unique and ever-changing business activities that could increase the risk of injury. Hazards from power tools used during creating and packaging can be dangerous. There are also unique equipment hazards from shrink wrap compactors, conveyors, and carousel storage devices. Sometimes contractors doing various tasks onsite can cause risk, or a sudden chemical exposure caused by broken containers, and even substandard equipment or repairs being done within the facility due to poor forklift fleet management.
Appropriate training is the key to ensuring your workers understand hazards they face and what they’re expected to do to remain safe. Supervisors should be familiar with the unique health and safety concerns faced by warehouse workers. Most importantly, employees should always be encouraged to ask questions and report all safety concerns.