Safety practices to reduce accidents, minimize injury
Your warehouse and transportation operations play a key role in the success of your business. Any operation interruptions or mishaps can drastically affect your company and its customers. It is important to have guidelines for safety compliance designed specifically for your work environment and regular health and safety meetings, which will lead to fewer workplace accidents and absenteeism due to injury.
Reducing the risk of injury and accidents should be actively sought after by any business owner. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, one in 20 warehouse workers will suffer a workplace injury in a given year. Meanwhile, the average cost of a recordable injury in the United States is $35,000 in workers’ compensation and lost productivity costs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Creating a safe workplace and a culture of safety brings benefits to both workers and management.
Dealing with TripsThe most common forms of injury in any workplace are slips and trips; however, these injuries can be much more dangerous in a warehouse environment due to all the moving parts in these facilities. In fact, slips and trips send more than eight million people per year to the emergency room. To minimize the risk, make sure your staff knows to store loose materials and clean up spills immediately. Another way to avoid this problem is to address any poorly lit areas in your facilities.
Proper Ergonomics & LiftingErgonomic-related pains such as lifting, reaching, pulling, and pushing are a common injury for warehouse and transportation workers. Worker training should include proper lifting techniques and safety best practices to avoid painful injuries.
Safety in Logistics TrainingRegardless of business size, a workplace training course is a not only a legal requirement but also a worthwhile investment into transportation and warehouse safety. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) holds employers accountable for the safety of their workers through safety compliance. Training also should cover how to use protective equipment and job-related equipment such as forklifts, drug and alcohol avoidance, and materials handling. Keep in mind that the training must be presented to your employees in a format they can understand with little to no difficulty. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration outlines additional warehouse safety rules. Click here to download the OSHA Warehouse Worker Safety Pocket Guide.
Transportation Training for Couriers and DriversWhen providing transportation and delivery of pharmaceuticals, medical products, hazardous materials or human and animal food, strict sanitation, temperature control, and chain of custody and reporting requirements can protect the health and safety of workers, customers and consumers. Anyone involved in providing these specialized delivery services should be fully trained in the applicable regulations and receive ongoing training and supervision to ensure full compliance.
Overseeing DisposalMake sure your warehouse has an adequate amount of garbage containers. Often overlooked, it is essential to have your employees empty out the containers whenever they are full. Letting garbage containers overflow can lead to many safety hazards such as slips and falls or even fires in the workplace. Recycling and trash containers should be placed away from the warehouse and not directly accessible from the inside, as this may also cause property damage. As a general tip for logistics safety, two people should man the station when trash is being collected.
Proper Maintenance of ChemicalsEven small amounts of exposure to harmful chemicals can cause irreparable damage to warehouse workers’ or drivers’ health. Make efforts toward establishing a well-defined storage system that everyone in the workforce will be knowledgeable about and adhere to. Avoid storing chemicals nearby the regular route of forklifts within the facility and maintain accessible emergency exits on either side of the building. Wear appropriate personal protective equipment such as safety shoes, gloves and glasses.
Maintain Appropriate Staffing
Good management includes allocating available manpower appropriately to achieve the required output. Frequent overtime and overwork by your workers can lead to buildup of stress. Workers who suffer from physical or mental exhaustion while in a work environment are more likely to make poor choices that can lead to accidents on the job, both in the warehouse and on the road.
Spread the workload and staff appropriately so that your warehouse workers and drivers can recover both in mind and body. Maintain proper records of duty status (RODS) and ensure drivers are compliant with the proper Federal Motor Carrier Association (FMCA) rules and mandates. In the end, you’ll get higher quality output and low reports of workplace-related injury with proper safety compliance.
The safety of your workforce should take precedence over any other aspect of the business. Excellent safety performance should be rewarded and encouraged through safety recognition awards, incentives and regular pats on the back. Maintaining a culture of safety will not only minimize cases of personal injury but those of property damage as well, both of which add up to liabilities and expenses for the company.