America's warehouses rank poorly regarding worker injuries and fatalities in comparison with other national industries according to the National Safety Council. It is no secret that OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) levies citations against many of these warehouses for repeat violations yearly. Compliance with safety regulations means recognising common areas and practices at high risk for violations. Compliance also mandates implementing guidelines and checklists for leading sources of violations to industry's standard safety laws.
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Warehouse Safety Violation Causes
Equipment and warehouse practices most likely to elicit a safety offence include scaffolding, fall protection, hazard communication, inadequate safety training and protective clothing for workers, poor electrical design and wiring, machine guards and conveying sytems, loading docks operations, forklifts and lock/tagout procedures. Other widespread safety offences include unsafe stacking of materials (placing heavier loads on top of lighter loads); clutter and spills on floors and in aisles; tripping hazards such as electrical cords in aisles; poor warehouse ventilation; insufficient traffic patterns for pedestrians and moving equipment; lack of fire extinguishers and poor egress routes; and, unsecure open wall or floor openings.
Warehouse Safety Violation Solutions
To avoid violating safety standards for warehouse operations, replace defective decking/planking on scaffolding which can cause workers and other items to fall from it and risk injury to others below. Be sure that spacing between planking adheres to standard industry specifications. Install guardrails. Conduct regular inspection of scaffolding connections. Whether it is step, rolling, extension or other type of ladder, ensure it is secured properly and steps or rungs are in good condition and level. Do not exceed load capacity or reach of ladders. Falls also occur from picking from pallets and safe procedures should be practised. Avoid overloading pallet racks and collisions with pallets by forklifts or other moving devices.
Discuss safety regarding hazardous materials with workers. Properly label, handle and store hazardous materials in approved containers. Train workers on the risk of materials and provide cleanup kits and instructions on spill cleanups. Maintain material safety data sheets for each material. Conduct regular safety meetings, enforce company safety policies and carry out a zero tolerance for misconduct or abuse of them. Also, provide necessary protection for eyes, ears, hands, torso, feet, or respiratory equipment, etc. Tailor warehouses ergonomically by training workers on how to lift correctly to reduce stress to parts of body. Instruct workers on how to work in cold and hot environments. Provide anti-slip mats.
Automating and updating systems such as conveying systems and other material carrying devices can help facilitate warehouse production and reduce its liability. Inspect and replace any faulty wiring. Also, pinch points on conveying systems should be well guarded. Make sure ample lighting is provided and supply proper work surfaces in these areas. Supply modular wire barriers (used to enclose machinery) to help protect workers. Inspect moving equipment regularly. To safeguard against accidents at loading docks, brightly mark dock edges to prevent workers from walking off it. Dock stairs and ladders should have handrails. Secure dock plates and be sure they can support a load safely. Do not permit workers to jump from docks. Drive forklifts slowly on docks and plates.
Aggressive communication, training and enforcement of a good company safety policy will promote safety and production in this country's warehouse facilities. Be sure to check with standard industry safety regulations for your area.
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