Common Warehouse Safety Hazards

December 16 Safety Training, Workplace Safety

In warehouses, safety often goes hand in hand with productivity, as lost workforce hours, damaged equipment/products, and equipment repairs can all impact your bottom line. That is why it is crucial for every warehouse to have a comprehensive safety plan in place to reduce the risk of accidents, injury, and downtime. In addition to educating personnel in safe operating practices, a thorough safety plan will highlight common warehouse safety hazards to raise awareness. As leading providers of safety training solutions for various industries, the team at EFAS Safety understands how hazardous warehouses can be without proper awareness and safety knowledge. That is why our team has compiled some information on 4 common safety hazards in warehouses and how to handle them.

Learn about some common forklift accidents and how to avoid them.

4 Warehouse Safety Hazards and How to Handle Them

The following hazards are the most prevalent and potentially harmful in most warehouses:

1. Forklifts

While forklifts are crucial pieces of equipment for every warehouse, they can present several safety risks to employees and other equipment if used improperly or without caution. Unsafe operation of forklifts is commonly cited as the leading cause of injuries in warehouses. That is why it is important to ensure that all operators are properly certified and are maintaining safe operating practices. In addition to operator training, forklifts should be inspected every shift to ensure that they are in good working order as a potential malfunction, breakdown, or broken component can cause an accident or injury.

2. Docks and Staging Areas

Docks and staging areas are consistently busy areas for most warehouses. With so many forklifts travelling in these areas to move materials, the potential for an accident is significantly higher than other sections of a typical facility. Forklift operators must always be attentive, drive slowly on dock plates, and ensure that dock edges are clear before transporting materials. Any personnel that are working on foot must also be aware of travelling forklifts, walking stackers, and other equipment to further reduce the risk of an accident.

3. Lifting, Handling, and Operator Strain

One of the most common causes of operator injury in warehouses is improper manual lifting and handling of various materials. Failure to follow safe lifting procedures can cause musculoskeletal disorders, increased fatigue, and overexertion. Warehouse personnel should always practice safe lifting techniques and plan for heavier materials by asking for assistance from a co-worker or using equipment to perform the lift.

4. Hazardous Materials

Some warehouses handle a variety of hazardous materials including chemicals, combustible canisters, fuel tanks, and other substances. Each of these materials must be labelled in accordance with hazard communication standards to ensure that all personnel exercise caution. All employees must also wear appropriate PPE when handling these materials to further reduce the risk of injury.