Maintaining a safe workplace is a top issue in any industry, but it’s a paramount concern in warehouse inventory management: According to OSHA, the fatal injury rate is higher in warehousing as compared to the national average of all industries. As your employees are among your company’s most valuable assets, it’s essential that you make every effort to ensure a safe work environment. Protecting your team requires you to assess and address the many dangers lingering in your warehouse, especially these top 4 most critical threats.
1. Heavy Equipment Incidents
Employees spend much of their day dealing with heavy equipment used to manage warehouse inventory, so it’s not surprising that many accidents occur. In fact, every year approximately 100 workers are killed and 20,000 are injured while operating forklifts. Many times, the problem stems from employees feeling too comfortable while using machinery; complacency can cause them to become inattentive. Other times, obstacles or debris prevent proper operation.
Warehouse Manager Tip: Limit the amount of time your employees can operate heavy equipment so they don’t make mental errors. Also, make organization a task for the entire team by requiring them to walk the warehouse floor periodically.
2. Slips, Trips, and Falls
These account for a large majority of accidents in the warehouse inventory management industry, but many of them are preventable. Typically, slips and trips occur when loose material, liquids, or cords are strewn about the space. Falls are most common around loading docks and stairs.
Warehouse Manager Tip: Ensure that your employees properly clean up spills or loose objects immediately after discovery. Consider installing better lighting in dim areas, place guard rails near steep walkways and use anti-slip tape on stairs and flooring.
3. Fires & Explosions
Fires are a threat to your entire workforce – not just the people directly involved with the incident. On average, more than 200 fires occur and over 5,000 workers are injured in US workplaces every year. Common causes of fires and explosions include worn or exposed wiring, leaks of hazardous chemicals, and improper wire placement.
Warehouse Manager Tip: Implement automatic sprinkler systems and fire extinguishers throughout your warehouse, and ensure that your team is following all rules regarding storage and handling of hazardous substances. Also, stress the importance of proper trash disposal in fire prevention.
4. Lack of Proper Safety Instruction & Policies
Many of the workplace hazards listed above can be avoided by making sure your employees are properly trained in safety precautions and accident prevention. Your warehouse cannot perform at optimum levels, your employees are less productive, and operations are less efficient when unsafe conditions exist. Lack of proper training can also expose your company to worker’s comp litigation and OSHA penalties.
Warehouse Manager Tip: Make regular training sessions part of your approach to managing warehouse employees. Revisit your company training and safety materials often to remind workers of important safety measures. A weak approach to safety leads to bad habits and increases the likelihood and incidence of accidents.
A wide array of dangers can exist in the workplace when you’re in the business of warehouse inventory management, but these don’t need to be a severe threat. With these tips on keeping the space organized and teaching your employees proper safety precautions, you can prevent your company from becoming a statistic.
About Michael Wilson
Michael Wilson is AFFLINK'S Vice President of Marketing and Communications. He has been with the organization since 2005 and provides strategic leadership for the entire supply chain team. In his free time, Michael enjoys working with the Wounded Warrior Project, fishing, and improving his cooking skills.