In the U.S., there are about 7,000 warehouses employing more than 140,000 workers. Unfortunately, hundreds of fatalities also come from this industry. Injuries and deaths in warehouses are caused by improper use of forklifts, materials handling, inappropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) and more factors that employers fail to address.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), warehousing establishments are usually cited for the following 10 OSHA standards:
2. Hazard communication
4. Electrical, system design
7. Mechanical power transmission
Besides setting guidelines in complying with the standards above in the warehouse setting, OSHA offered these safety measures for warehouse workers’ general safety:
- The facility must have proper lockout/tagout procedures.
- The warehouse must be well ventilated.
- All floors, aisles and surfaces must be free of clutter, hoses, spills, electrical cords and other materials or factors that could cause slips, trips or falls.
- Proper guards must be provided for exposed or open loading dock doors and other similar areas that could cause employees to fall 4 feet or more.
- Employers must factor in proper work practices when determining the time requirements for each employee in accomplishing every task.
- Workers who have to perform physical work must have enough periodic rest breaks to avoid fatigue.
- All newly-hired employees must receive both general ergonomics training and task-specific training.
- Every employee must be trained on how to avoid heat stress in hot and humid environments.
OSHA has published a pocket guide to warehousing. Click HERE to view it.