Safety is a top concern for warehouse managers and their employees. However, workplace injuries remain a big problem in warehouses. Additional steps must be taken to protect warehouse employees against injuries.
A clear understanding of warehouse injuries and their impact is crucial. Warehouse managers who know workplace safety risks that can lead to on-the-job injuries can plan accordingly. These managers can do their part to help employees avoid injuries. They can also develop and maintain a safe and productive warehouse.
Why Warehouse Managers Need to Prioritize Workplace Safety
There were 213,100 warehouse-related injuries reported in the United States in 2020. These injuries occurred for many reasons.
Insufficient workplace safety training is a leading cause of warehouse injuries. Warehouse managers are responsible for teaching workers the ins and outs of on-the-job safety. If a workplace safety training program does not meet the expectations of warehouse workers, it can create myriad problems.
Warehouse workers who lack adequate training are more prone than others to make mistakes. These workers may be unaware of various workplace safety protocols. Thus, they cannot follow these protocols and inadvertently endanger themselves and others.
In addition, warehouse managers must keep a close eye out for safety hazards. If managers are lax, they may miss certain hazards. Over time, these hazards won’t be addressed and can escalate. If a warehouse employee is forced to deal with an on-the-job hazard, this worker can get hurt.
Let’s not forget about the brand reputation damage and revenue losses a business can suffer due to warehouse injuries, either.
OSHA has published safety regulations for warehouses. A business that ignores these regulations is subject to compliance penalties that hurt its brand reputation and bottom line.
Also, if a worker is injured in a warehouse accident, their employer may be liable. In this scenario, the worker can sue their employer. At this point, the employer can face a lengthy litigation process and be forced to pay damages to the worker who suffered an on-the-job injury. The warehouse manager who oversaw this employee can be subject to civil and criminal penalties.
How to Protect Against Warehouse Injuries
Warehouse injuries are not always preventable. Yet there are many things that warehouse managers can do to limit the risk of on-the-job injuries, such as:
1. Use Signage
Workplace safety signs can serve as frequent reminders to warehouse workers. The signs encourage employees to follow on-the-safe safety best practices every day.
Set up workplace safety signs that are visible, durable, and easy to understand. Using signage with images can help employees work safely. They also help make a warehouse more inclusive for employees dealing with disabilities or language differences.
2. Offer Safety Equipment
Give warehouse workers helmets, face shields, vests, and other safety equipment. This helps protect warehouse employees from head to toe.
Teach warehouse workers how to use safety equipment. Warehouse workers should know how to wear safety equipment and why it is important to do so. These workers should be able to adjust safety gear and ensure it fits properly. They should have no trouble reporting safety equipment concerns or issues to managers.
Show warehouse workers how to get the best results from safety equipment, too. For instance, a warehouse manager can encourage employees who wear glasses to treat their daily wear like wearing glasses at the gym: get their frames adjusted regularly and wear a protective strap. This can help warehouse workers who wear glasses see clearly and further reduce their risk of on-the-job injuries.
3. Guard Against Falls
Invest in a fall prevention system in a warehouse and teach workers how to use it. The system limits the risk of falls at heights.
Along with using a fall prevention system, chain or rope off exposed or open warehouse loading docks. This helps workers avoid falling from these docks.
Watch for uneven or damaged flooring in a warehouse. Uneven or damaged flooring makes it difficult for workers to safely walk or transport items across a warehouse. If floors are uneven or damaged, they must be repaired right away.
Clean and organize the workplace. Remove debris from warehouse floors and clean up spills immediately after they occur. Make sure warehouse materials are stored safely and are not placed in aisles. Remove cables and other obstructions from aisles as well.
4. Provide Ongoing Training
Create a workplace safety training program and keep it up to date. Warehouse workers should receive periodic safety training. This allows employees to ask questions and get the insights they need to protect themselves and others against workplace injuries.
Get employee feedback about a workplace safety training program. Conduct employee questionnaires and surveys to learn how workers feel about on-the-job safety. A warehouse manager can use employee feedback to improve the training program.
Help Warehouse Employees Avoid Workplace Injuries
Warehouse managers must prioritize on-the-job safety. By committing time, energy, and resources to continuously improve workplace safety, warehouse managers can help their employees work safely without compromising their productivity. Most importantly, they can reduce the risk of workplace injuries now and in the future.