The National Safety Council (NSC) has designated June National Safety Month to make employers and workers aware of the issues surrounding workplace safety. This is an important observance, considering that each year, more than 5,000 deaths and millions of injuries occur in the workplace. The warehouse is often the scene of worker injury, and this blog will help you understand some of the most common OSHA violations in these workplace settings.
Common Warehouse OSHA Violations
Warehouses can be dangerous work environments. Materials are stored several feet in the air, forklifts are zipping around, rain comes in the loading dock and makes the floors slippery, and many more hazards abound in the typical warehouse. Without adequate safety precautions, accidents can and do happen. Some of the most common safety violations OSHA cites are often:
- Failing to hold regular safety inspections. Companies must have established procedures for regular safety walk-throughs to ensure everything is in tip-top shape.
- Speeding forklift drivers who exceed the posted limits. This also includes careless drivers who do not follow safety protocols when driving these heavy machines. The machines themselves are often not properly maintained. Forklifts with low or leaking hydraulic fluids or with indicator lights signaling a problem are common.
- Ladders are a frequent cause of an OSHA violation. There are all kinds of safety standards related to load capacities, clearance, step surfaces, and much more. There are even OSHA stands for using step stools in the workplace.
- Scaffolding is another issue with OSHA. Failing to properly anchor the equipment, no guard rails, or improper use of this equipment is a common citation.
- Electrical wiring is a big and dangerous issue. Usually, the violation is an improper use of extension cords. Improper grounding is another big issue along with overloading the electrical outlets and circuits in the buildings we operate.
- Load rating violations for overhead storage can cause a seriously dangerous situation. Signage must be posted that notes the weight limits of these structures so everyone can see it.
- Guard rails to protect workers are often missing or incomplete. OSHA looks for top rails that are 42” from the floor with mid-rails at 21”. Railing construction must be able to support a minimum of 200 pounds from any direction.
- Stairs and stairwells are other easy flags for OSHA. The organization has very specific requirements for these features. For example, a stairwell should be at least 16” wide and 7” deep. There should be a 10” rise between each step; no more no less and the stairs themselves must be completely uniform.
- For organizations that use respirators, there are rules for that, too. There must be a written respiratory protection manual for your workforce. There are also required medical exams for employees who regularly use these tools.
- Signage and labeling are often flagged by OSHA as being improper or inadequate.
While these are the most common types of OSHA citations, your organization may have experienced others. OSHA is notoriously complicated, but the reality is these rules do help both employers and workers stay a little safer at work—something everyone wants to see.
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