10 Warehouse Safety Tips to Stay Sharp

Gear Up for Peak Season: Warehouse Safety  

The parcel rush will be upon us before we realize it! As warehouses hustle to meet booming demands, it is more important than ever to prioritize safety. As growth in warehouse employment continues to be the backbone of the industry’s success, it is vital to understand the different dynamics and potentially dangerous world of warehouse operations.

It is important to understand all safety protocols so you can stop future injuries before they happen.  A company’s success depends on how it fosters the knowledge and tools needed to address common hazards, promotes its safety culture, and adheres to regulatory practices.  

 According to Safeopedia, the top three injuries in a warehouse come from:

  1. Slips, trips, and falls
  2. Injuries from lifting, pushing, pulling, or reaching
  3. Material handling and forklift accidents

Overall, the U.S. Department of Labor statistics indicate that these accidents account for 15% of all accidental deaths (a quarter of all injury claims and an astounding 95 million lost workdays every year). Due to the high number of accidental deaths, it is important to practice warehouse safety for your health and well-being.  Here are 10 Warehouse Safety Tips to Consider when working in the warehouse:

Tip #1:  Master your workspace

Most accidents and injuries are caused by unrecognized hazards and environmental conditions.  Make sure every corner of your work area is labeled, orderly, and as clean as possible. Not only can a clean area maintain order and efficiency, but it also lowers the chance of accidents happening within your work area. By keeping your area clean, it can also encourage coworkers to do the same.

Tip #2: Always use appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is designed to protect workers from hazardous substances and dangerous environments. Understanding when it’s necessary to wear PPE, what type to wear, and how to properly put it on minimizes exposure to hazards that cause serious injuries and illnesses. This includes wearing appropriate clothing for the workplace environment. Some workplaces, like warehouses, may have specific clothing requirements. Always check safety manuals and rules for your position. For example, steel-toed boots are necessary around heavy machinery, and earplugs can protect your hearing in loud environments.

Tip #3: Familiarize yourself with safety protocols

Learning, practicing, and memorizing safety protocols will better protect you from sustaining injuries from falls, spills, and trips.  Reading your company’s safety manuals and adhering to safety policies can help you understand what measures to take to stay safe and keep others safe while working.  Also, communicating with other coworkers about practicing safety can help increase efficiency and consistency.

Tip #4: Uncertified? Don’t operate!

If you are not familiar with operating machinery and equipment in the warehouse, leave it to the professionals.  Seek another coworker who has certified training or wait until you have sought out the education. By receiving the education, you can properly and safely operate in the warehouse without hurting yourself or others.

Tip #5: Communication is important

Clear communication with other coworkers not only improves work relationships but also benefits by keeping all employees safe and healthy. Clearly communicating safety rules, regulations, methods, policies, and standards ensures everyone is on the same page and up to date.  Doing so can help reduce the risk of injuries and health-related accidents.

Tip #6: Avoid forklift traffic

Identifying dedicated paths for forklifts and man-walkways can save you from unnecessary injury. Always ensure that you are staying out of the way of moving forklifts by looking for floor decals indicating the path and listening to incoming traffic.  Even though this tip might seem simple, there are 85 forklift fatalities and 34,900 serious injuries a year (according to the OSHA).  Of the 85 fatalities, 10% come from being struck or run over by a forklift.  

Tip #7: Read the Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

OSHA requires workplaces to keep an SDS for every hazardous chemical kept in the vicinity. The SDS informs employees about the hazards of the chemical ingredients, how to obtain information on the chemical, and what to do if a spill or accident occurs with that chemical. Reading the SDS on every material you will handle will prevent future accidents from happening.

Tip #8: Report safety concerns

If you find yourself in an unsafe condition or witness an unsafe action, immediately report it to your supervisor or manager on duty.  It is critical to report these incidents to ensure proper measures are enforced in the future.

Tip #9: Lift like a Champ!

Even during peak season, prioritize proper lifting techniques to avoid back injuries. Remember: Squat don’t hunch! Bend your knees and keep your back straight as you lift. Hold the object close to your body and use your leg muscles to power the lift. If the item is too heavy, don’t hesitate to ask for help. 

Tip #10: Stay hydrated

Peak season often coincides with cooling temperatures. Even in non-temperature-controlled warehouses, exertion can lead to dehydration. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids throughout your shift to stay cool, stay focused, and avoid heat-related illnesses.

By following these tips, you can navigate the peak season safely and efficiently. Interested in learning more? Check out these articles all about warehousing: The Future of Warehouse Automation, Labor Shortage in the Parcel Industry.