Workplace safety should be top of mind for facility managers. A safe workplace is an efficient one, and it’s one that employees feel comfortable in. Conversely, when occupational injuries occur, productivity is lost and employees begin to feel unsafe on the job.
Overall, workplace injuries are on a decline in the U.S. In 2016, the most recent year for which statistics are available, there were 2.9 million nonfatal injuries and illnesses reported, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This was a decrease of 48,500 from the year before.
Fatalities, on the other hand, took a turn for the worse. In 2016, there were 5,190 fatal injuries reported, a 7 percent increase compared to 2015. This marked the first time since 2008 that occupational fatalities totaled more than 5,000.
As you lead your workforce into 2018, take some time to review the past year and any accidents that occurred at your facilities. Here are some of the most common types of injuries sustained on the job, as well as some of the most dangerous areas in any warehouse:
Forklifts are incredibly useful pieces of equipment for getting heavy items around your warehouse, but they can also be very dangerous – primarily when they’re being used to load or unload a trailer. If the trailer shifts or pulls away without the forklift’s driver knowing, he or she may drive off the edge of the loading dock.
To prevent these accidents from occurring, begin with training for everyone at the warehouse. There should be clear signals that indicate whether the trailer is safe to approach. Be sure those signals are working properly and that everyone can understand them. Additionally, make sure there’s no chance for the trailer to unexpectedly pull away. Restraints can help with this.
Forklifts also become dangerous if they’re used for a job they’re not rated for. Different forks can handle different load sizes. If you have multiple forklifts that can handle loads of varying sizes, be sure they’re clearly marked and that your drivers understand the importance of accurately matching load size to the right truck.
Among construction workers, falls are the No. 1 cause of fatal injuries. Nearly 4 in 10 deaths in construction are due to falls, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Falls can also occur at loading docks, and anywhere workers are carrying out duties on elevated surfaces, such as mezzanines or scissor lifts. Additionally, any time holes, openings or drop-offs aren’t guarded or covered, they become fall hazards. OSHA pointed out that unprotected areas can be found in nearly all worksites.
To prevent falls at your warehouse, do the following:
- Install guards around or coverings over openings in floors or walls.
- Invest in fall protection gear for your employees.
- Hold regular trainings for working on elevated surfaces.
Electrical wiring and system design
Electricity-related citations show up not once but twice in OSHA’s list of top 10 most frequently cited standards. Additionally, electrocution is the No. 3 cause of occupational fatalities among construction workers.
To reduce electrical hazards at your workplace, OSHA recommends guarding and insulating the flow of electricity whenever possible. Additionally, properly grounding the electrical current can make the area safer.
Protective gear should come standard if employees are working directly with electricity. When installing or repairing equipment at your warehouse that’s powered by electricity, it’s important that the work is done correctly and using best practices – the service professionals at Miner are carefully trained in these areas.
Make your warehouse a safer place in 2018 by reviewing these three areas of concern and identifying any potential hazards. When reviewing existing equipment or installing new assets, you can partner with Miner to ensure everything is in place and operating correctly.