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Protect workers with a warehouse safety checklist

Ensuring warehouse safety is easiest with a warehouse safety checklist. Learn which common safety hazards to include on any checklist you create, and how to get the most out of the inspection process

What is a warehouse safety checklist?

A warehouse safety checklist is what operation managers use to find and address safety hazards. This checklist helps design preventive measures to avoid workplace accidents and warehouse management errors. Proper warehouse management is essential when 2.3 warehouse employees are involved in accidents each year.

Warehouse safety checklist template

3 reasons to use a warehouse safety checklist

  • Checklist-based warehouse inspections are standardized and don’t overlook anything
  • Assessing risks using a warehouse safety checklist keeps workers safe
  • Regular warehouse maintenance ensures that operations flow smoothly

What to address using a warehouse safety checklist

It’s important that your warehouse safety checklist be thorough and include items specific to your business. However, there are certainly several common safety hazards your checklist should check for and address according to OSHA’s warehouse guidelines.

1. Forklift trucks

Forklift trucks are critical equipment used in warehousing and storage facilities. However, if they are incorrectly operated, they can seriously damage operators, nearby workers, and property. Improper forklift truck usage is the most commonly cited warehouse operations hazard according to OSHA. Avoid forklift misuse by:

  • Making sure that all forklift drivers are competent and have completed certified training. Perform regular refresher training and assessments when operators are observed operating the truck unsafely.
  • Ensuring all goods are properly placed and stored before operation
  • Performing daily forklift inspections before work begins to check all machines function correctly

2. Docks

One of the worst warehouse accidents occurs when a worker is trapped or crushed between a forklift truck and the loading ramp. This can happen if a forklift truck hits someone when leaving the dock. Keep your warehouse free from docking accidents by:

  • Making sure forklift drivers are alert and drive slowly on dock plates. Dock edges must be free and able to withstand heavy loads.
  • Putting warning signs and mechanisms in place to prevent people from getting near docks

3. Conveyors

Conveyor systems transport goods within warehouses. However, conveyor belts pose serious risks to workers, who can be caught in equipment or struck by falling objects. To stay safe, it is important to:

  • Ensure that protective devices are in place between the conveyor belt and the worker to prevent clothing, body parts, or hair from being tangled in the machinery
  • Follow warehouse safety locking procedures during conveyor belt maintenance and repair

4. Material storage

Improperly stacking loads and storing materials on high shelves can lead to slips and falls. Your warehouse safety checklist should ensure:

  • Gangways and passageways are clear and in good condition so that workers cannot slip, trip, or fall.
  • Loads are evenly and correctly positioned, and heavier loads are stacked on lower or middle shelves. Remember, only remove one load at a time.

5. Manual lifting and handling

The most common cause of physical injury in warehouses and storage facilities is improper manual lifting and handling. Bad posture and uncomfortable movements can cause musculoskeletal disorders the more they are repeated. Correct manual lifting and handling problems by:

  • Planning work in advance and minimizing exertion as much as possible by applying good engineering design techniques
  • Making sure workers maintain good posture when carrying or moving loads, and get help if products are too heavy

6. Hazardous chemicals

Any facility dealing with hazardous chemicals needs a hazard communication program. The hazard communication program should train workers to identify chemical hazards, handle them appropriately, safely store and dispose of chemicals, and wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

A warehouse safety checklist needs to include all these items if you want to address all possible issues.

7. Charging stations

Charging stations in storage facilities are used to refuel or recharge equipment so it stay operational. This equipment runs on petrol, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), or battery power. Charging stations can cause fires or explosions if they’re not maintained properly. Remember to:

  • Keep vehicle charging stations away from open flames. Smoking near a charging station is prohibited and fire extinguishers should be available and functional in case of a fire.
  • Install adequate ventilation to distribute harmful gases. Make sure workers wear suitable PPE at all times.
  • Provide eyewash and shower facilities if workers are exposed to acids and/or chemicals

8. Equipment under voltage

Implement a Lockout Tagout program (LOTO) for all warehouse operations to ensure that all live equipment is properly shut down. This way, employees won’t be stuck between mechanical parts or suffer electric shocks. Employees must be trained in LOTO procedures, including use and removal of LOTO equipment after maintenance work.

Worker in yellow safety PPE showing another something

7 tips for effective warehouse safety checklists

Confidence in workplace health and safety boosts employee productivity, which is one more reason to make sure your warehouse is as safe as possible. Follow these best practices to ensure your warehouse safety checklist covers every hazard your employees might face:

Tip 1: Identify all hazards

Regularly inspect the areas around you and evaluate all potential hazards and issues in your warehouse. Even simple slip and trip hazards should be recorded. Something as minor as a pencil can cause injury if someone steps on it while rushing past.

Tip 2: Train your workers

Making sure your workers receive up-to-date training is essential. Aside from ensuring efficiency, regular training reinforces awareness of safe work practices.

Tip 3: Safe storage

Safely storing your products and materials is essential. Improper storage can lead to damaged materials and harm workers. For example, objects stacked precariously on high shelves could fall and injure people.

Tip 4: Maintain cleanliness

A clean and organized warehouse is more likely to be safe. For example, orderly workspaces have fewer slip and trip hazards. When things are properly stored and labeled, there is less risk of accident or injury.

Tip 5: Use safety equipment

Wearing the proper personal protective equipment mitigates injuries and accidents. Earplugs, safety boots, goggles, and hard hats are part of maintaining a safe work environment.

Tip 6: Conduct regular inspections

Regular warehouse safety inspections make sure employees continue to follow safety and compliance guidelines. They’re also a good way to show that management cares about workplace conditions. Regular inspections help eliminate bad habits and unsafe behavior.

Tip 7: Foster open communication

Maintaining an atmosphere of open communication helps prevent accidents and injuries. Your workers should be able to approach management for updates, observations, and suggestions, and you should communicate the same to them. Making employee voices heard gives them value, which motivates workers to actively improve the safety of their workplace.

What are some reasons to work with a warehouse safety checklist?

Warehouses can be dangerous places to work. Understanding common warehouse risks and hazards helps avoid injuries and deaths. Public authorities report an average of 16 deaths per year in the warehouse sector, and 5 out of every 100 warehouse workers are injured on the job.

When you organize maintenance using a warehouse safety checklist, you establish safety protocols that improve workplace conditions in the short and long term: a safer warehouse means higher daily productivity and compliance with applicable regulations. You can supplement your warehouse safety checklist with a 5s-based warehouse safety audit.

Warehouse worker driving a yellow forklift loaded with boxes

Create warehouse safety checklists with workflow automation software

Paper-based inspection checklists are easy to misplace or damage and tedious to replicate. Designing your warehouse safety checklist using a workflow automation platform like Lumiform ensures that you’ll never misplace another document, and you can re-generate the same inspection as many times as you want.

Lumiform’s mobile app and desktop software allow you to carry out checks and regular inspections with complete flexibility, online or offline. Once you begin an inspection, the app guides you through each element step by step to ensure you don’t miss anything.

Since any data you collect using Lumiform is saved to the cloud, documentation is clean and transparent. Transform your warehouse management with workflow automation and:

orange forklift truck in front of a shelf in the warehouse


What is a warehouse safety checklist?

A warehouse safety checklist is a tool to ensure that daily operations in a warehouse or other storage facility can be executed safely and do not pose undue risk to workers.

What do warehouse safety checklists include?

Any warehouse safety checklist will address the most commonly present hazards in warehouse environments, like toxic chemicals, equipment malfunctions, falling objects, and workplace behavior.

How does a warehouse safety checklist improve your business?

Keeping your workers safe during their jobs improves overall morale and therefore productivity. And besides a moral/legal obligation to make warehouses as safe as possible, fewer injuries means less time lost and a lower chance of lawsuits or compensation claims.

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