In order to have the safest warehouse possible, you have to be vigilant at all times, right? While this is true, you can easily set yourself up for success with safety product, training, and other protocols. It’s simply not possible for you to observe every employee and every inch of your facility at all times. However, there are a few top offenders among OSHA recordable injuries to watch for in your facility. And we’ll also briefly discuss ways to prevent these recordable injuries.
1. Fall Protection
Falls are typically the prime offender among OSHA violations. This is especially relevant to the construction industry, yet it can easily translate to warehouse workers as well. So, how can you discourage falls from occurring? In addition to being wary of falling product, you obviously need to consider the habits of your employees. If you employees have the potential to fall from a higher level, then consider the following: discourage unsafe climbing, and accommodate the right areas with ladders, steps, scissor lifts, and more. And don’t forget, you should also be mindful of having the right MRO to accommodate any type of lifting equipment.
2. Hazard Communications
In addition to fall protection, you should also be aware that you and your employees are on the same page about any hazardous materials. Hazardous communication, or HazCom, is generally associated with chemicals during handling, shipping, and any form of possible exposure. Violations are avoidable if you simply keep written or posted material up-to-date and host regular training for new and existing employees. Visit the OSHA website for more information on HazCom, Safety Data Sheets, and label requirements.
Though you may not have scaffolding in your facility, you shouldn’t sleep on this cause of potential OSHA recordable injuries. In fact, 72 percent of workers injured in a scaffold-related incident claim it was due to planking or support giving way, or the employee slipping or being struck by a falling object according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). There are four common hazards associated with scaffolding which are falls, scaffold collapse, struck by falling materials, and electrocution. For tips on scaffolding safety view OSHA’s Guide to Scaffold Safety Use in the Construction Industry.
4. Respiratory Protection
Not only do respirators and masks need to be used when appropriate, but it’s also important to use products that are certified and accredited. It’s also important to ensure employees’ equipment fits properly at all times. Whether your staff uses particulate respirators or airline respirators, be sure you are up-to-date with these OSHA training videos.
As you may know, lockout/tagout is a warehouse safety procedure used to shut off machinery or equipment to prevent hazardous releases of energy. This energy can include electrical, mechanical, chemical, or thermal energy. It’s important to ensure your employees understand these hazards and the harm they can create. Checkout these tips for improving your lockout/tagout program from Occupational Safety & Health.
It only takes one weak ladder to set your facility back. Not only can it seriously injure an employee, but it can easily damage your reputation and lose customers. Injuries are more common with portable ladders, however, you should be sure that your fixed ladders, if any, are also in proper order. In addition to OSHA’s ladder safety documents, you may want to review Basic Ladder Safety from the American Ladder Institute.
7. Proper Certification for Industrial Trucks or Forklifts
According to OSHA, nearly 100,000 injuries occur each year due to improper forklift or powered truck use. And more than a third of these were considered severe. OSHA requires that every forklift operator in your facility be certified, so be sure to get information on training requirements and certification. You may also be interested in our article, 14 Forklift Safety Tips.
8. Fall Protection – Training Requirements
Not only should you account for falls in general, but you should also consider what you’re doing to keep your employees safe in the event of a fall. Employers are required to provide a training program for each employee who might be exposed to fall hazards. Are they receiving proper equipment to safeguard them? Regular training? More info on fall protection training requirements is available from ISHN.
9. Machine Guarding
Machine guarding relates to making your equipment as safe and capable of use as possible. In other words, your equipment shouldn’t pose a constant risk to your employees for pinching or cutting themselves, burning themselves, or, worse, amputations. You can read more about the basics of machine safeguarding from OSHA.
10. Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye and Face
Eye and face protection are crucial to the safety of employees in many industries. This equipment, commonly called PPE, helps protect against flying particles, gases, chemicals, and light radiation. OSHA has put together information on standards, hazards and other resources for PPE.
Now that you’re in the loop (or reminded) of the top OSHA recordable injuries, you may also be interested in 5 steps to prevent recordable injuries to further safeguard you and your employees.