Employees, managers, and business owners alike should know the dangers present in warehouses. These dangers don’t make warehouses bad work environments—the workplace’s safety comes down to the effort employees and employers put in to minimize those safety hazards. Below, you’ll find the top safety hazards in warehouses. Keep reading to learn what these hazards are, some reasons they occur, and how to minimize your chances of encountering them.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Employees slipping, tripping, and falling from high places is one of the most dangerous—and prevalent—hazards in a warehouse. Reasons for these accidents include liquid spills or leaks, items lying on the ground, and a lack of sufficient lighting. Your facility’s lighting is crucial because if employees can’t see where they’re going, they may miss a step or walk over a gap in the floor without realizing it’s even there.
Luckily, swiftly wiping up spills, installing warning signs, and improving lighting conditions are simple ways to remove these dangerous hazards. Setting up guard rails is also an effective way to prevent employees from falling over ledges, whether they’re working on a loading dock or somewhere with even higher elevations.
Warehouses utilize various types of heavy machinery, with one of the most common being forklifts. While this machinery is helpful to overall workflow, forklifts have their own set of safety hazards that operators must prepare for every time they’re at the helm. In fact, operators should conduct pre-shift safety inspections to establish everything is in working order before using the vehicle out in the field.
Neglecting machinery maintenance or using the equipment recklessly can lead to potentially fatal injuries via objects falling from forklifts, lift truck collisions with employees or equipment, and limbs becoming stuck or crushed within moving parts. By providing thorough training and monitoring employee performance, employers can ensure their team works safely and responsibly in the warehouse.
One of the top safety hazards in warehouses is a danger you’ve probably heard about since childhood—fires. Thankfully, because fire hazards are nothing new, warehouses have various ways of combating and preventing them from doing immense damage. As with all workplaces, warehouses must have easily locatable emergency exits clearly labeled throughout. To prevent employees from sustaining injuries while evacuating, ensure fire exit doorways are clear of any clutter like boxes, old forklift tires, and beyond.
Warehouses must also have portable fire extinguishers available, easily accessible, and in working condition. Regularly inspect fire extinguishers, and replace worn, empty, or otherwise broken ones when necessary. Common causes for warehouse fires include flammable liquids leaking or exposed wiring igniting nearby materials. By optimizing your workplace to combat such hazards, you can minimize the chances of fires erupting under your watch.