Construction might be one of the most hazardous professions, but according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, otherwise known as OSHA, there are plenty of hazards in a warehouse. "The high number of fatalities associated with forklifts... tell (OSHA) that many workers are not being properly trained to safely drive these kinds of potentially hazardous equipment." Fortunately, more employers are taking steps to make sure workers are safe on the job, but it is up to everyone to reduce hazards and be aware of potential problems. Regardless of the size of the warehouse, here are some things that all workers can be on the lookout for on the job:
- Make sure pathways are not blocked by boxes or other materials.
- Teach employees to be aware of their surroundings.
- Place warning signs at dock edges. Make sure signs are not blocked. Use equipment to mark temporary hazards.
- Get trained on proper lifting techniques to reduce the hazards of back injuries.
- Ask for ergonomic equipment to prevent repetitive injuries.
- Use proper forklift techniques and know about the risks of using this heavy equipment in small spaces.
- Keep all chemicals and hazardous substances stored and labeled properly.
- Make sure all spills and loose material are cleaned up quickly. Slipping or falling are two of the main types of accidents in a warehouse environment. Install anti-slip tape and make sure your boots have good tread.
- Watch that items are not stacked too high, either on the shelves or on the floor. Objects falling on employees is another big problem in commercial settings.
- Fires are another hazard that can be prevented in many cases. Look for electrical cords under carpets and worn or exposed wires. Know where the fire exits are and hold regular fire drills.
- Talk to the leadership of the organization when safe working conditions are not being upheld.
Even with precautions, accidents can happen
Safety on the job should be everyone's concern. You cannot afford to get passive about updating safety procedures. Sometimes, when turnover is high, employees get lax in safety prevention. Newer employees do not recognize all the problems while the other employees cannot keep up with all safety issues.
Even with the best intentions, accidents do occur. If you have been injured on the job, talk to an experienced attorney to make sure you receive all the workers' compensation benefits to which you are entitled. A serious work injury causes many burdens on you and your family, from financial to emotional. Protect your interests and get experienced representation to find the best solutions.