Warehouse safety

Read about various warehouse safety topics and learn about the most common hazards in a warehouse.

Why is Warehouse Safety Important?

Warehouses can be dangerous places to work. It is important to understand the common hazards and risks in warehouses as they can lead to injuries and in extreme cases to death. Public authorities report an average of 16 deaths per year in the warehouse sector and a reported injury and illness rate of 5 out of 100 warehouse and warehouse workers. We introduce you to 8 of the most common safety risks in a warehouse as well as safety tips and resources to help you identify and control them.

Hazards in the warehouse and warehouse safety tips

1. Forklift Truck

Forklift trucks are critical equipment used in warehousing and storage facilities. However, if they are incorrectly operated, they can cause serious damage to operators, nearby workers and property. Unsafe use of forklift trucks is the most commonly cited hazard in warehouse operations by OSHA. Basic OSHA warehouse safety tips for forklift trucks should be followed:

  • Make sure that all forklift drivers are competent and have completed certified training. Perform regular refresher training and assessments when an operator is observed operating the truck in an unsafe manner.
  • Perform daily inspections of forklift equipment before take-off to check for checks and damage to the equipment.

2. Docks

One of the worst accidents that a worker can suffer is being trapped or crushed between a forklift truck and the loading ramp while working in a warehouse. This can happen when a forklift truck leaves the dock and hits a person.

  • Forklift drivers must be alert and drive slowly on dock plates and ensure that the dock edges are free and safe to carry loads.
  • Always make sure that warning signs and mechanisms are in place to prevent people from getting near docks.

3. Conveyors

Conveyor systems are often used in storage facilities for the transport of goods. However, conveyor belts pose serious risks to workers, including getting caught in equipment and hitting falling objects. To stay safe, it is important:

  • Ensure that suitable protective devices are provided between the conveyor belt and the worker to prevent the tangling of clothing, body parts and hair.
  • For warehouse safety follow the correct locking procedures during maintenance and repair of the conveyor belt.

4. Storage of Materials

Improper stacking of loads and the storage of materials on shelves can lead to slips and tripping for workers.

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

5. Manual Lifting/Manual Handling

The most common cause of physical injury in warehouse and storage facilities is improper manual lifting and handling. This can cause musculoskeletal disorders if an unfavourable posture is adopted, unfavourable movements are repeated or work is carried out with overexertion.

  • Plan in advance and determine whether the need for lifting can be minimized by applying good engineering design techniques.

  • When carrying or moving loads, make sure that the correct ergonomic posture is maintained. If products are too heavy, ask an employee for help.

6. hazardous chemicals

A hazard communication program should be implemented when handling hazardous chemicals in the warehouse or your storage facilities. The hazard communication program should include effective training on chemical hazard identification, proper handling, storage and disposal of chemicals and the use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

Learn how to conduct better warehouse safety inspections when handling and storing hazardous chemicals.

7. Charging Stations

Charging stations in storage facilities are used to refuel or recharge all driven equipment to make it work. The devices can be operated with petrol, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or battery. If the correct guidelines for warehouse safety are followed, fire and explosion may occur.

  • Charging stations are away from open flames. Smoking is prohibited here and fire extinguishers should be available and in good working order in case of fire.
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  • An adequate ventilation system must be installed for the safety in the warehouse to distribute harmful gases. Workers must always wear suitable PPE. Eyewash and shower facilities should be provided if workers are exposed to acids and chemicals.

8. equipment under voltage

A Lockout Tagout program (LOTO) must be implemented in all warehouse operations to ensure that all live equipment is properly shut down This prevents employees from getting between mechanical parts or suffering an electric shock. All affected personnel must be trained in LOTO procedures and in the use and removal of LOTO equipment after maintenance work has been performed. Check out this digital LOTO checklist to learn more for safety in your warehouse.

If safety procedures and workplace hazards in warehouses are disregarded for cost reasons, serious risks of accidents and injuries to workers are created. Training workers to be aware of hazards, conducting safety inspections and implementing safety measures can help to maintain a safe and healthy working environment.

Featured templates

Warehouse Audit

Warehouse Audit

Use this template to carry out a comprehensive internal audit in your warehouse. See template

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Warehouse Inspection Daily Checklist

Use this checklist template to perform a daily check in the warehouse. See template

Forklift Operator Daily Checklist

Forklift Operator Daily Checklist

Use this template before use to assure that the machine is safe to use. See template