People who work in a warehouse face physically demanding shifts. They must be provided with a safe work environment. The onus to do this is on the employer.
There are many hazards that these hard-working men and women face. Understanding the hazards of warehouse work may help employers to mitigate the risks and the workers to remain safe.
#1: Falling merchandise
Merchandise on the upper shelves can tumble down and hit workers. Anything that’s on storage shelves should be securely positioned. Ideally, heavier or unstable objects will be stored on lower shelves to reduce the chance they’ll fall onto a worker. Some warehouses may require the use of hardhats and steel toe shoes to minimize the chance of the worker suffering a serious injury.
#2: Obstacles on the floor
Obstacles on the floor, including mats with corner curls and spills, should be cleaned up or clearly marked to prevent slips or trips. These incidents can lead to broken bones, damage to the brain and spinal cord injuries. Anything that has to be placed on the floor should have clear markings to alert workers of the hazards.
#3: Moving machinery
Moving parts on machines and heavy equipment that’s used in the warehouse put workers at a risk of being crushed. Anyone operating machinery should be properly trained. All workers should understand and follow the safety plan around these machines.
#4: Overuse injuries
The demands and repetitive nature of warehouse jobs put workers at an increased risk of overuse injuries. Using proper body mechanics is crucial. Heavy or bulky items should be lifted only using a team lift or equipment. Breaks to stretch and rest are also important.
#5: Fires and smoke inhalation
A fire in a warehouse can spread quickly because of the merchandise. Workers should know the safety plan in case a fire breaks out. A working fire alarm and sprinkler system can increase safety. Proper signage and lights at exits can also keep workers safe.
Injured workers should ensure they’re getting the medical care they need for their injuries. The costs of this should be covered under workers’ compensation. They might also be eligible for other benefits. Working with someone who’s familiar with these cases may help ensure workers get what they’re due.