Warehouse work is nothing new, but it has expanded exponentially in the past few years thanks to online shopping sites. Added to that is the upswing in the direct-to-consumer retail businesses that ship from warehouse locations rather than brick and mortar shops. In fact, 1.14 million employees do their work from inside a warehouse. Companies like Amazon, Wayfair and Norwex, create jobs and make purchases easier and less expensive, but those companies are also met with a unique set of challenges and dangers at work.
Warehouse fatalities are higher than the national average for fatal, worksite injuries.
Workplace Safety Screenings uses a variety of protocols to help you safeguard against workplace injuries in the warehouse. From implementing training and best practices, to vetting employees, WSS help you team avoid common accidents and help you to find the best worker to fill vacant warehouse positions. We’re here to help you keep your warehouse productive and free from easy-to-avoid injuries.
Who’s Driving The Forklift?
When you think of warehouse accidents, forklifts are probably at the top of your mind. Operating a vehicle of any kind comes with risks, but forklifts can be overloaded or damaged from improper use, turning common loads into a hazard to other equipment, goods or people in the immediate vicinity. To keep employees and products secure around forklifts, always train employees on proper use, which includes:
- How to maneuver and load forklifts
- Knowing the weight and speed limitations for loads
- Knowing the proper positions for loading, lifting or parking lifts
- How to check equipment for damage or malfunctions
- Clear and concise safety protocols for people working near forklifts/forklift paths
More than 90,000 forklift related injuries are reported each year
Before you make a new hire for forklift drivers in your warehouse, you should be performing drug and alcohol testing as part of your interview process. Operating machinery like forklifts has enough hazards without adding impaired driving to the list of possible pitfalls.
Hiring Your Muscle
While much heavy lifting in the warehouse is done with lifts, often it also involves “lifts” of the manual variety. Heavy lifting combined with repeated motion can create on-the-job injuries that range from herniated discs and pulled muscles to wrist sprains and crushed fingers. If a job requires manual lifting, it is imperative that the employee is properly trained so they can avoid injuries.
Two million back injuries occur every year in the United States
- Know your limits. Employees should seek help or use lifts when materials are too heavy
- Never lift with your back. Herniated discs can become a lifelong injury
- Avoid excessive bending motions
- Keep elbows close to your body when moving materials
Before a new hire walks into your warehouse, make sure they are a right fit for the job by performing a fit-for-duty exam. The last thing you want to do is endanger an employee’s health and your business by placing a person in a position they can't physically do.
Working the Docks
Employees who work on the loading docks face are doubly vulnerable to jobsite injuries. They both manually move things and use forklifts. In addition to the hazards we’ve already mentioned, they have the added risk of being pinned or struck by the trucks they are loading/unloading, falling off the loading dock, or can be hit by falling objects.
More than 6,000 loading dock related injuries result in worker absenteeism each year.
- Forklifts should be used slowly with extra caution to avoid driving off a dock or striking personnel
- Use fall prevention devices, as well as motion alarms to prevent accidents
- Instruct employees to only use designated entrances and exits rather than jumping/climbing
- Never allow employees to stand between dock and moving trucks or forklifts
Workplace Safety Screenings can perform a safety audit of your warehouse to help you implement better safety procedures and provide training and pre-employment screenings. We will also conduct follow-up health assessments for workers who sustain injuries with our state-of-the-art, Occupational Health Management program.
With the right safety measures in place, you’ll keep your workers safe and healthy and your warehouse running smoothly.