What is Warehouse Safety?

By definition, warehouse safety is a formula of regulating guidelines and optimal industry practices to help warehousing personnel ensure a safe work environment and safe behavior while working inside the premises. It is an important matter for the workers to know about warehouse safety and practice good habits because any neglect, whether intentional or not, can lead to workplace incidents that lead to serious injuries, or in worse cases, death of a worker or multiple workers.

What is a Warehouse Safety Inspection Checklist?

A warehouse safety inspection checklist is a type of building inspection checklist that serves as an important record to be used when inspecting a warehouse for safety compliance and for identifying possible hazards or defects that may have emerged since the time the warehouse was last inspected. Frequent warehouse inspections can help the workers be always on top of all kinds of hazards and risks that are present during warehousing operations. These documents should be completed whenever a warehouse inspection takes place.

What are the Common Rules of Warehouse Safety?

The warehouse safety rules vary greatly depending on the warehouse and the business that operates it. Here are the common rules that can be observed to ensure safety:

Establish safety requirements relating to fire protection, design, maintenance, and the use of industrial trucks.Classify the potential chemical hazards and establish some form of communication to the warehouse staff regarding hazard assessment and its appropriate protective measures.Promote safe electrical wiring methods especially when dealing with temporary electrical wiring, cable trays, and open wiring on insulators.Electrical installations should be covered, as well as the utilization equipment that is used within the warehouse, its structures, and other nearby areas.Ladders should be inspected prior to first use and they should be evenly spaced and level when in position for use.Emergency exit routes should be properly lit and have their corresponding markings. A proper employee alarm system should be installed and ensure that it is operable.Safety measures for mechanical power transmission apparatuses must be implemented and equipment should always be regularly inspected.Portable fire extinguishers for warehouse workers should also be present. They must also be properly tested and maintained to ensure optimal working order.

What are Some Common Warehouse Issues?

As warehouse operations evolve along with time and technology, so do the safety problems that come with it. Here are some of the safety problems a typical warehouse faces in the modern era:

Cutting Corners on Safety. To meet goals, managers in the warehouse may sometimes brush aside or take for granted the need of addressing hazards and near misses immediately and thoroughly. They do this because they believe they save time in skipping the investigation of issues that don’t even bother them at all. But in reality, no amount of time can bring back the life of a worker that is lost when a small issue blows up.Storage and Exit Hazards. Constant offloading and repackaging of large shipments will always leave clutter inside the warehouse, and this can sometimes block some of the alleyways and may end up in front of doorways. This is a completely unacceptable practice according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. This is because the standards state that every exit in the warehouse must be free of clutter.Ergonomic stress. The design of a warehouse facility must primarily focus on reducing ergonomic stress as well as environmental stress. Physical distress caused by repetitive sitting and standing motions of warehouse workers in a fast-paced environment is a prevalent worker safety issue.Lack of worker training. Continuous fast-paced shifts should not be a reason to neglect the proper training of warehouse workers, especially if the training involves dealing with warehouse hazards and how to appropriately deal with them. Safety meetings within the warehouse should be also held regularly. The money and time lost due to training and re-training of workers are very negligible compared to the money and time lost whenever a warehouse worker gets injured or loses his/her life.

What are the Typical Warehouse Hazards?

Every work environment has a hazard that goes along with it. However, with adequate knowledge and safety training, the effects of a hazard can be mitigated. Here are some hazards one typically sees inside a warehouse:

Not wearing protective equipment. This is the most common safety violation inside a warehouse. Not wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) will increase the risk of getting injured when there is a warehouse accident, such as impact injuries, respiratory injuries, etc. A worker may wear his/her PPE, but not properly. This is also a problem in the warehouse. Falling Debris. In most cases, items get stacked in the warehouse on many levels. This is done to use space more efficiently. As a result, the items that are stacked together can reach a high level and may present a danger of falling over if it is improperly secured. A method of creating a more stable stack of items is by moving bulkier objects at the bottom of the stack. In any case, the weight limit should be properly observed.Electricals. These types of hazards can lead to the most dangerous workplace accidents if improperly cared for or totally neglected. When managers want to save time and money (which is pretty much most of the time), they just let their own workers fix the persistent electrical problems inside the warehouse instead of calling a qualified electrician. Fires. They are a very preventable hazard in a warehouse. But sometimes they can be the most dangerous if easily flammable and light materials are left near potential fire starters, such as leaking flammable fluids near exposed wires that can spark anytime. Workers in a warehouse need to be trained in proper fire prevention in order to combat this kind of hazard. Frequent inspections should also be conducted to identify any potential fire hazards that may have appeared.Operating heavy machinery. The hazard in this appears when a worker becomes too complacent in operating heavy equipment because of his/her accumulated experience in doing so. As a result of being too complacent, the standard safety procedures in operating such equipment can be totally ignored. To combat this problem, workers that are frequently assigned to operate machinery should frequently undergo proper training, in order to keep the pointers fresh in their minds.Harmful Substances. These substances are frequently found in most warehouses. Whenever these are mishandled, it causes an increased risk of injuries and health hazards. To combat the potential hazard of harmful substances, they should first be properly labeled and carefully stored. Workers should also be trained to handle them properly. Should any spillage occur, the harmful substances should be properly disposed of in accordance with standard procedures.

What are the OSHA Regulations and Standards?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has some standards in place concerning general industries, which include warehousing operations. Here are those:

Step by Step Guide in Preparing an Effective Warehouse Safety Inspection Checklist

A good warehouse safety inspection checklist should be clear, concise, and above all, easy to complete. The checklist needs to be something one can run periodically to ensure that everything is in top condition and no discrepancies, no matter how small, is overlooked. Also, the checklist greatly varies from each warehouse. Here is a guide on how to prepare an effective checklist:

1. Planning.

In this step, plan on whether a very thorough inspection of the entire warehouse is to be done, or if just a section of it is needing one. Workers may also be informed ahead of time that an inspection of the workplace is due to happen anytime. This is done so no important work is interrupted when the inspection actually happens.

2. Create the checklist.

In this step, the proper creation of the checklist happens. It also depends on the type of inspection to be performed. The following are some of the items that should be included in the checklist if a thorough inspection is to take place:

3. Leave spaces for feedback.

It is also important to leave some spaces in the checklist for feedback or reports, problems found with the corresponding actions taken, and the recommendation reports from the people who conducted the warehouse inspection. The recommendations written will help the warehouse manager to know if any more components that will need replacing or restoring in the next maintenance interval. The actions taken will also let the manager know what the people who conducted the inspection did on the area they are inspecting.

4. Verification of the checklist.

When the creation of the checklist is done, make sure to verify it in order to make sure that everything is correct from the type of maintenance to be done down to the overall cost. Make sure that nothing of importance is overlooked, especially in areas that are already faded and show signs of decay. You should also check if there are areas of the warehouse that don’t even need inspection but you may have accidentally included. If you hand it over to the inspectors, it is also important to let them know about the type of warehouse inspection to be done, and the components that you have included in the checklist, so they can also verify your created checklist and also to avoid any confusion.

FAQs

What are the kinds of Personal Protective Equipment in a Warehouse?

Here are the types of PPE in a warehouse:

  • Hard Hats
  • Hi-vis vests or Jackets
  • Safety glasses
  • Earmuffs
  • Safety shoes
  • Safety gloves
  • Overalls

What is the objective of a warehouse safety inspection?

Warehouse safety inspections are essential because they allow you to listen to the concerns of the warehouse workers and the managers, ensure that the warehouse and every worker adheres to safety regulations and standards, get a better knowledge of occupations and activities, and detect any hazards that have emerged or that will possibly emerge. establish the root causes of risks, provide recommendations for remedial action, and keep account of the measures done to remove or control the risks that are present in the warehouse.

Why does warehouse safety matter?

It matters because warehouses can contain various safety hazards which in turn serve as opportunities for accidents and incidents to happen that can lead to severe injuries. It is also important because the hazards that are present in a warehouse can change greatly from moment to moment, depending on the tasks inside. So the employees in the warehouse need to be frequently trained about warehouse safety and appropriately dealing with the hazards and safety issues they can encounter.

Having a warehouse safety inspection checklist is essential to make sure that everything that needs to be covered in the inspection is properly looked at. The checklist also helps streamline the process and helps prevent the inspection from going all over the place in case there’s any uncertainty if an item is already checked or not. It also helps avoid any situations where an item is unintentionally overlooked, which may evolve into a safety hazard if left unchecked. The data in the warehouse safety inspection checklist can be used to help improve the safety practices of the warehouse employees and also the condition of the warehouse itself. This article has examples provided above should you need to make one of your own.