With over 145,000 people working in over 7,000 warehouses the potential for hazards is staggering. From the use of unsafe forklifts to inadequate fire safety the fatal injury rate for the warehousing industry is higher than the national average of any other industry.
We want to help keep you safe and productive at the same time.
Here are some of the Top Hazards found by OSHA:
About 100 employees are killed and 95,000 injured every year while operating forklifts in all industries. Forklift turnovers account for a significant percentage of these fatalities.
- Train, evaluate and certify all operators to ensure that they can operate forklifts safely;
- Do not allow anyone under 18 years old to operate a forklift;
- Properly maintain haulage equipment, including tires;
- Before using a forklift, examine it for hazardous conditions which would make it unsafe to operate;
- Follow safe procedures for picking up, putting down and stacking loads;
- Drive safely, never exceeding 5 mph and slow down in congested areas or those with slippery surfaces;
- Ensure that the operator wears a seatbelt installed by the manufacturer;
- Never drive up to a person standing in front of a fixed object such as a wall or stacked materials;
- Prohibit stunt driving and horseplay;
- Do not handle loads that are heavier than the weight capacity of the forklift;
- Remove unsafe or defective trucks from service until the defect is properly repaired;
- Maintain sufficiently safe clearances for aisles and at loading docks or passages where forklifts are used;
- Ensure adequate ventilation either by opened doors/windows or using a ventilation system to provide enough fresh air to keep concentrations of noxious gases from engine exhaust below acceptable limits;
- Provide covers and/or guardrails to protect workers from the hazards of open pits, tanks, vats and ditches;
- Train employees on the hazards associated with the combustion byproducts of forklift operation, such as carbon monoxide.
Injuries happen here when forklifts run off the dock, products fall on employees or equipment strikes a person.
- Drive forklifts slowly on docks and dock plates;
- Secure dock plates and check to see if the plate can safely support the load;
- Keep clear of dock edges and never back up forklifts to the dock’s edge;
- Provide visual warnings near dock edges;
- Prohibit “dock jumping” by employees;
- Make sure that dock ladders3. Electrical, wiring methods
Workers can be injured when they are caught in pinch points or in the in-going nip points, are hit by falling products or develop musculoskeletal disorders associated with awkward postures or repetitive motions.
- Inspect conveyors regularly;
- Ensure that pinch points are adequately guarded;
- Develop ways of locking out conveyors and train employees in these procedures;
- Provide proper lighting and working surfaces in the area surrounding the conveyor.
Fires and explosion risks are possible unless proper guidelines are followed.
- Prohibit smoking and open flames in and around charging stations;
- Provide adequate ventilation to disperse fumes from gassing batteries;
- Ensure that fire extinguishers are available and fully charged;
- Provide proper personal protective equipment such as rubber gloves and eye and face protection;
- Properly position forklifts and apply brakes before attempting to change or charge batteries; follow required procedures when refueling gas or propane fueled forklifts;
- Provide conveyors, overhead hoists or equivalent materials handling equipment for servicing batteries;
- Provide an eye washing and safety shower facility for employees exposed to battery acids.
Improper lifting, repetitive motion or poor design of operations can lead to musculoskeletal disorders in workers.
- If possible, use powered equipment instead of requiring a manual lift for heavy materials;
- Reduce lifts from shoulder height and from floor height by repositioning the shelf or bin;
- Ensure overhead lighting is adequate for the task at hand;
- Provide employees with task-oriented ergonomic training;
- Use your legs and keep your back in a natural position while lifting;
- Test the load to be lifted to estimate its weight, size and bulk, and to determine the proper lifting method;
- Get help if the load exceeds the maximum weight a person can lift safely without assistance;
- Don’t twist while carrying a load, but shift your feet and take small steps in the direction you want to turn;
- Keep floors clean and free of slip and trip hazards.
In every facility safety training should not be taken lightly. It is imperative not only to your own safety, but to your coworkers’ as well. At KMH we offer safety training and any equipment checks and repairs you need. Call 888-564-7978 for your free operational audit so we can help you keep everyone safe.