According to OSHA, statistics show that more than 145,000 people work in over 7,000 warehouses. The fatal injury rate for the warehousing industry is higher than the national average for all industries. Some of the potential hazards for workers in warehousing are: unsafe use of forklifts; improper stacking of products; failure to use proper personal protective equipment; inadequate fire safety provisions; and poor respiratory protection.
- Docks are locations where products fall on employees, forklifts run off the dock, or equipment strikes a fellow worker.
- About 100 employees are killed and 95,000 injured every year while operating forklifts in all industries. Operators should be properly trained, and anyone under 18 years old should never be allowed to operate a forklift.
- Injuries happen when workers are caught in pinch points when working around conveyors. Proper lighting and working surfaces assist in providing safety in the conveyor area.
- Improperly stored materials may fall and injure workers.
- If hazardous materials are present, chemical burns are possible. Provide proper personal protective equipment and enforce its use. All chemicals should be stored safely and securely.
- Charging Stations need to have fire extinguishers available and ready; prohibit smoking. PPE, such as nitrile gloves, and eye and face protection should be worn around charging stations, and an eyewashing and safety shower facility should be provided for employees exposed to battery acids.
- Improper lifting, repetitive motion or poor design of operations can cause musculoskeletal disorders in workers in warehouses. Floors should be kept clean and free from trip/slip hazards. Provide general ergonomics training.
The jobs that are performed in warehouses require skill in lifting and observing safety procedures at all times. Employees should have proper training and be aware of the many hazards lurking in warehouses.