Warehouse supervisors are very familiar with the risk associated with warehouse operations. There are potential hazards around every corner, whether it is handling volatile chemicals, operating heavy machinery, or using dangerous hand-held tools. We have all heard the massively exorbitant fees associated with worker’s compensation claims. We also know what even one OSHA violation or a reportable incident can do to insurance. So, are your warehouses as safe as they could or should be?
Common Risks in Warehousing
Accidents at work are very common. The data shows that American companies paid $171.0 billion in 2019 for wages and productivity losses, medical, and administrative expenses. In the warehousing field, OSHA reports more than 145,000 people work in more than 7,000 facilities around the U.S. Given the high volume of workers in this field it’s surprising that there aren’t more injuries each year. With that said, the fatal injury rate is higher in the warehousing field over all other injuries.
Some of the most common risks include:
- Unsafe use of forklift equipment.
- The improper stacking of stored products.
- The failure to use proper personal protective gear.
- Failing to adhere to proper tagout/lockout procedures.
- Repetitive motion injuries from lifting things improperly.
- Poor fire safety provisions.
According to OSHA, the top 10 safety violations they give out to warehouse facilities includes:
- Forklifts cause about 100 deaths and 95,000 injuries each year, according to OSHA.
- Hazard communication is a common citation for companies that fail to label or mis-label hazardous materials.
- Electrical and wiring methods that fail can cause electrocution.
- System design for electrical equipment can cause all kinds of problems for a company including worker injury or death.
- Guarding wall and floor holes and openings is a serious problem. Failing to alert workers can lead to slips, trips, and falls.
- Exits are critical for making sure your workforce can get out in the event of a fire.
- Mechanical power transmission equipment that is used improperly can cause amputations or other injuries.
- Respiratory equipment protection is necessary to keep respiratory injury and illness from affecting your workforce.
- Tagout/lockout procedures keep equipment from being accidentally turned on and injuring unsuspecting workers.
- Portable fire extinguishers (or a lack of them) can kill hundreds of people every year.
Koke reports that most warehousing accidents occur on docks, forklifts, conveyors, materials storage, and material handling. They tell us that even one injury is too many, with the average direct cost to employers of even one injury is $38,000, with another $150,000 in indirect costs.
Preventing workplace injuries requires warehouse companies to establish a culture of safety for every associate. This requires extensive training during orientation for new employees, and then repeated training to keep these important safety rules top of mind with the workforce. Promote personal accountability and a culture of safety to help your workforce stay strong and safe while on the job.
PrideStaff takes on the job safety very seriously. If you’re looking for warehouse workers with the ability to take safety seriously, we can help. Talk with our team to find out more.