Reduce Worker Injuries by Improving California Warehouse Safety
By Michael Verna on May 16, 2016
By implementing safety procedures and taking safety precautions, warehouse operators can help reduce the risk of workers suffering workplace injuries.
Warehouse workers throughout California, and elsewhere, face a number of hazards in the workplace. Some are inherent in these types of facilities, while others are caused by negligence. As a result of these workplace dangers, warehouse employees may be more apt to suffer serious injury, or death, on the job. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the warehousing industry's fatal injury rate is higher than the national average for all other industries. Implementing certain policies and taking certain safety precautions, can limit some of the risks.
Common warehouse safety hazards
Even the safest of warehouse facilities can hold numerous dangers. Some of the most common hazards facing warehouse workers include the following:
- Not having sufficient fire safety provisions
- Improperly stacking products
- Failing to wear and use appropriate personal protective equipment
- Using forklifts unsafely or improperly
- Not handling products and materials properly
- Failing follow the correct tagout and lockout procedures
In addition to these dangers, workers can also be at risk for injuries due to forceful and repeated motions, according to the California Department of Health Services. The use of faulty or defective equipment can also be hazardous for warehouse workers. If warehouse operators disregard these dangers, it can easily result in a serious accident.
Conduct safety training
One of the most important steps for minimizing the risk of warehouse accidents is safety training. Educating warehouse employees helps to familiarize them with the risks they, and their co-workers, face. This can help them to fully understand the potential consequences of failing to follow warehouse safety standards and prevent negligence. Regularly conducting safety training for warehouse workers also helps ensure they know how to respond to warehouse accidents and emergencies.
Furthermore, it is also important to train and certify employees on the use of equipment, such as forklifts and hydraulic dollies. Ensuring workers are trained on the proper use of equipment can help guarantee they obey the equipment's safety precautions. This can help prevent workplace accidents resulting from negligent employees, including incidents involving forklifts, from occurring.
Perform safety checks
Beyond conducting regular safety training, it is also important to perform regular safety checks. This includes checking for potential workplace safety hazards, such as stray cords, improperly stored equipment or tools, and spilled liquids. Executing these types of checks can help identify equipment that requires servicing, or that is defective. It can also ensure that faulty equipment, such as scaffolding, is not used, which may reduce the likelihood of scaffold collapses, and other accidents.
Identify dangerous areas
In many warehouses, it can be helpful to clearly label and mark off hazardous zones. Painted stripes and tape on the floor, in addition to signs, can be utilized to indicate safe walkways and highlight dangerous zones. By doing this, it can help workers to be more aware of hazardous areas so they know to use extra care.
Use proper safety equipment
Requiring the use of safety equipment can also be vital to minimizing the hazards facing warehouse workers. This includes mandating that employees wear the appropriate clothing, shoes, hard hats and eye protection. Using the appropriate safety equipment can help prevent head and eye injuries, as well as other serious bodily injuries.
Seek legal counsel
Often, injuries sustained by California warehouse workers are covered by their employer's workers' compensation policies. However, when the injury is caused by the negligence of their employer, or another worker, employees may be entitled to further compensation. It may benefit workers who have experienced this type of situation to work with a legal professional. An attorney may help them to understand their rights and options.