Warehousing is one of the most important elements in logistics. When a warehouse runs optimally, companies can provide quality service and timely delivery of goods to their customers. They will be satisfied and choose to stay loyal to these companies.
But warehouses are also high-risk places where several safety hazards are present. In the UK, 1,300 employees are hospitalized each year due to forklift accidents. This number is astonishing, especially if we consider that this only covers one of the many accidents that can happen in a warehouse.
Logistics is the backbone of the retail industry. Companies need to realize that the safety of all employees in warehouses is of great importance. When warehouse operations are disrupted, the whole logistics chain is affected. So companies should put more effort into reducing, if not fully eliminating, safety hazards in warehouses to prevent accidents and create a safe environment for all employees.
Here are some common warehouse safety hazards and ways to prevent them:
Slips, Trips, and Falls
An employee might slip while they’re walking or carrying stocks when the floors are too slippery. If there are objects scattered around the floor, they might trip. And both of these things can lead to falls. These three hazards can lead to injury; the worst-case scenario is death.
Proper cleaning and maintenance are key to preventing these accidents. A warehouse manager will have to coordinate with the maintenance crew to ensure that the floors are regularly cleaned to prevent them from getting slippery. Also, all warehouse employees must be vigilant and always look where they’re going to avoid accidents.
Warehouse employees transport and organize stocks in each workday. And in some cases, they’ll have to manually handle things. They also have to stand and walk around for long periods of time. These can result in physical fatigue.
Sometimes, avoiding physical fatigue boils down to an employee’s personal awareness. They need to know when it’s time to take a break or ask others for help. What managers can do instead is to raise awareness about the equipment that employees can use to reduce the need for manual handling. It will also help if employees are required to do some stretching together at the start of their day. This will help them prepare for work and decrease the chances of physical strain.
Warehouses have aisles and aisles of high shelves. So there is always the risk of objects falling and hurting warehouse employees. For example, if someone doesn’t properly stack boxes, they may wobble and fall. Or an employee may try to retrieve a box and accidentally tip over another one.
Falling objects is always a risk in warehouses. They can be prevented by ensuring that all employees are properly trained with the correct ways of handling and stacking boxes. Employees should also be given personal safety equipment such as hard hats and gloves.
Falling from Heights
From 2019 to 2020, out of 111 deaths of workers, 29 were because of falls from a height. People never think such an accident could happen to them until it actually does. So employees should not be too complacent when they work in warehouses; over-confidence is not good in this case.
To keep employees safe, they should be trained with ways to work safely when at a height. They should also be knowledgeable of ladder safety. In turn, companies must provide employees with high-quality ladders and other materials to ensure that they can work safely while they’re at the top of a stack of shelves.
Machine-related accidents are common in warehouses. For example, contact with moving machinery is one of the most fatal accidents in Great Britain. And in warehouses, several kinds of machinery are used to move things around. Some examples include forklifts, pallet jacks, conveyors, and many more.
Given the risk, warehouse managers need to ensure that each employee who handles machines is properly trained to operate them. Training should also be done regularly to help employees retain information about the machines they operate. All employees should also be trained on how to behave around certain equipment. They must also wear the appropriate gear whenever they use these machines.
All workplaces have safety hazards. It just so happens that working in a warehouse has even more dangerous scenarios that employees need to be wary of. Warehousing is an important branch of logistics. And if companies in the retail industry want their businesses to run smoothly, they need to pay more attention to ensuring the safety of their warehouse employees.