Mathand understands that safe handling and storing of materials are vital to our industry. Improper handling of warehouse equipment can lead to costly employee injuries and workflow interruptions. Training your employees to recognize potential hazards on a job site so they can take necessary steps to avoid workplace accidents is paramount. Here are a few examples from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), that will help keep your workers safe and your warehouse running smoothly.
- Height limitations should be respected when stacking materials. OSHA recommends painting walls or posts with stripes to indicate maximum stacking heights.
- Boxed materials must be banded or held in place using crossties or wrap.
- Drums, barrels, and kegs should be stored symmetrically with the bottom tiers blocked to prevent them from rolling if stacked horizontally.
Using mechanical equipment increases the likelihood of employee injury. Safe operating techniques should be taught and maintained to ensure equipment and warehouse employees are completing jobs safely. Common hazards include:
- Injuries associated with mechanically moving materials are often pinching or crushing related.
- Heed weight limits! Avoid overloading equipment by letting the size and weight of the material dictate what machine to use.
- Material handling equipment has rated capacities that determine the weight it can carry and the conditions under which it can operate. Employers must ensure that the equipment-rated capacity is displayed clearly on each piece of material handling equipment and each employee is aware of this display.
Conveyors pose potential hazards that are often overlooked. Regarding conveyors OSHA recommends the following:
- Employers should install emergency buttons or pull cords along the entire length of the conveyor belt so the cables can be accessed from any point.
- Employers should also ensure an appropriate inspection is completed before restarting a conveyor that has stopped due to an overload.
- In places a conveyor passes over aisles and work areas, guardrails with warning signs must be installed to protect employees from being struck by falling material.
OSHA states operators of all machinery should be properly trained on how to use them. Establishing an ongoing formal training program to teach workers how to recognize and avoid hazards is pivotal to a safe workplace. Avoid injuries from ignorance and complacency and keep your warehouse running smoothly by practicing these and other OSHA standards. Remember, a good safety program is proactively built on preventing mistakes others have made, not reacting to your own!