The world is rapidly changing, and warehouse safety is more critical than ever. Preventing accidents is the only way we can work towards a safer workplace. However, ensuring your team plays by the rules and consistently works safely is more challenging than it sounds.
Warehouse safety needs to be a top priority in today’s workplace environments. You can ensure a higher level of safety and safety protocol buy-in through robust training, implementation of a rigid safety policy, and adherence to minimum safety regulations.
This guide will review the latest rules and regulations to keep warehouse environments safe for all employees as we transition into an automated future. Hold on tight because we’re also going to share some tips and strategies you can use to take advantage of technology. Do this to improve your warehouse safety and worker efficiency (so it’s a win-win). Let’s dive in.
Table of Contents
- What Is Warehouse Safety?
- How To Manage Warehouse Workplaces Safely
- A Five-Step Program For Implementing Warehouse Safety Protocol
- Assess the warehouse environment and identify potential hazards
- Develop a health and safety policy that outlines safe working practices
- Train all warehouse staff on the health and safety policy
- Implement a system for tracking workplace incidents and injuries
- Regularly review and update the health and safety policy
- Tools To Use For Warehouse Safety
- A Five-Step Program For Implementing Warehouse Safety Protocol
- Mastering Warehouse Safety Regulations
- OSHA Standards Enforcement & Our Solutions
- 1910 Subpart D – Walking-Working Surfaces
- 1910 Subpart E – Exit Routes and Emergency Planning
- 1910 Subpart F – Powered Platforms, Manlifts, and Vehicle-Mounted Work Platforms
- 1910 Subpart G – Occupational Health and Environmental Control
- 1910 Subpart H – Hazardous Materials
- 1910 Subpart I – Personal Protective Equipment
- 1910 Subpart J – General Environmental Controls
- 1910 Subpart K – Medical and First Aid
- 1910 Subpart L – Fire Protection
- 1910 Subpart N – Materials Handling and Storage
- 1910 Subpart O – Machinery and Machine Guarding
- 1910 Subpart P – Hand and Portable Powered Tools and Other Hand-Held Equipment
- 1910 Subpart S – Electrical
- 1910 Subpart Z – Toxic and Hazardous Substances
- OSHA Standards Enforcement & Our Solutions
What Is Warehouse Safety?
Warehouse safety is a concept and a way of doing business. Warehouse safety is a way of managing a warehouse environment that encourages safety and supports worker involvement in safe practices. Warehouse safety is the safe work practices of team members. Warehouse safety is all of these things and more. So, let’s define warehouse safety by how it applies to us.
Warehouse Safety and Workplace Standards
Warehouse safety standards must find their way into your health and safety manual. The standards you set should be of a nature that will set the pace for the minimum safety conditions you expect within your facility moving forward. That is the concept behind setting a standard, after all.
Standards should be in your health and safety manual and outline practices from equipment to common staff-use areas. We recommend including the following at minimum.
- Housekeeping standards per area
- SOPs for each area role
- Equipment standards of care and use
- A procedure for documenting, tracking, and mitigating risks
- Emergency procedures
Maintaining these basic workplace standards will ensure that you’re on the right track regarding proper health and safety management within your warehouse environment.
Warehouse Safety and Equipment Use
Equipment used within warehouse environments often accounts for some of the greatest dangers within the work environment. According to OSHA, there are approximately 823,000 powered industrial trucks in use in the United States. And according to their statistics for forklift fatalities, here is some surprising data:
- 24% of deaths due to overturned forklifts
- 17% of deaths due to struck material (carried by forklift)
- 14% of deaths due to being hit by a forklift
- 14% of deaths due to falling from forklifts
- 11% of deaths due to pinned between forklift and object/structure
As you can see, the first is equipment misuse, and the second is likely due to visual impairments by the operator. Again, perhaps misuse if the operators are unable to see a pedestrian. In fact, if we analyze every single one of these causes of death, we can see that every single one is preventable. Proper training is in order here to reduce the fatalities from equipment use.
Warehouse Safety and Personnel Facilities
The facilities provided for personnel should reflect the minimum requirements outlined in your health and safety policy. Remember earlier when we discussed workplace standards? Those standards need to apply to more than just the warehouse floor. You need maintenance and housekeeping standards for your facility to apply to all areas, including personnel facilities. These personnel facilities may include:
- Staff washrooms
- Staff break or lunch rooms
- Staff corridors and offices
- Staff areas outside, such as designated smoking areas
Maintaining a basic standard of cleanliness within your facility will aid in staff morale as much as in preventive measures to stop the spread of disease and other such issues. We recommend implementing a tracker such as a Housekeeping Inspection Checklist or similar to maintain your standard of cleanliness.
How To Manage Warehouse Workplaces Safely
Warehouse safety is a hot topic. Every year, warehouse-related accidents account for a high number of deaths and injuries in the workplace. Let’s dive into how you can manage warehouse workplaces safely to ensure more than just compliance.
Remember that with intelligent warehouse management, you’ll have a well-informed team working safely and efficiently. Don’t discourage if, at first, there’s some resistance (change always brings resistance, even if it’s for the good of the team). Due diligence will prevail, and your team will get buy-in; you just need to keep the pressure on training and ensure a smooth implementation. Here’s how to do that:
A Five-Step Program For Implementing Warehouse Safety Protocol
Assess the warehouse environment and identify potential hazards
Step one: identify risks with a rigorous warehouse safety inspection. We recommend utilizing a checklist or two to ensure no critical data or information doesn’t make it onto your report. Actionables
Here’s where we would start the process and what we would use.
- For each warehouse role, perform the following: Complete a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA).
- Divide your warehouse into sections that make sense to your process.
- For each section, perform a Risk Assessment Form (RAF).
- Compile information gathered from the JHA and RAF processes.
Develop a health and safety policy that outlines safe working practices
Step two: Create your applicable health and safety policies based on the compiled information gathered in step one.
- Determine the responsibilities of each role, including contractors, and determine their level of involvement in emergency procedures.
- Create a role-based document for each position that provides processes and procedure responsibilities.
- Create emergency procedures based on each working area or role, whichever makes more sense for your organization. The emergency procedures must cover all applicable potential risks found during your risk assessment audits.
Train all warehouse staff on the health and safety policy
Step three: Train all employees and relevant contractors on the applicable health and safety policies enforced in the facility or site.
- Decide on a location and time to initiate training for staff and contractors. It is often enough for contractors to obtain repeatable video training from a third party to provide contractors when they arrive on site.
- Provide staff and contractors with adequate notice of intention to implement training requirements. Provide the date of training determined in the previous step.
Implement a system for tracking workplace incidents and injuries
Step four: Before the training date, set up a tracker where participants may sign to authorize that they were present for said training.
- Create a mode of tracking training for employees and contractors. A simple spreadsheet will do in most small business cases.
- Create a calendar that allows you to set reminders or notifications. The calendar will enable us to manage refresher training at the appropriate intervals. Similarly, some staff might have specialized renewable training, which requires annual re-certification. A spreadsheet and calendar should do the trick to manage in most circumstances.
Regularly review and update the health and safety policy
Step five: Review training, policies, and procedures. Consult with all personnel involved in each process to ensure all possibilities have appropriate consideration.
- Setup quick meetings with personnel involved in processes to ensure
- a) Compliance with policies
- b) Understanding of policies
- c) Ease of policy compliance
- Review procedures following data collected from quick meetings
- Implement changes as required and schedule the following policy review.
Tools To Use For Warehouse Safety
- Policies – Policies include processes and procedures necessary to complete creating and maintain a safe work environment.
- Documents – Once you have your policies, you need to have documentation. Records should include health and safety policies, checklists, and reports to document the critical stages of the process.
- Equipment – Appropriate equipment within your warehouse ensures that team members have what they need when needed. Equipment should include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Housekeeping Equipment – A clean workplace is essential for maintaining appropriate conditions. Try including a Housekeeping Inspection Checklist in the routine facility inspections to ensure your team maintains it appropriately.
- Personal Protective Equipment – Personal protective equipment includes everything from safety vests for those working in the vicinity of forklifts and other moving equipment to gloves for housekeeping procedures.
- Other Safety Gear – Other safety gear might include bollards installed to protect racking systems, and even painted lanes on the floor to control equipment traffic flow can be considered other safety gear, albeit installable.
- Software – Managing warehouse safety often includes software to keep the many aspects of the work environment safety program intact and on point. Naturally, we’re going to recommend you try the 1st Reporting app. It’s an app we designed with you in mind. We wanted to create an all-encompassing solution for facility managers who wish to maintain their facilities with a robust, organized, and easy-to-use alternative to the old paper, pen, and clipboard technology of old.
Mastering Warehouse Safety Regulations
According to OSHA, the top two standards most frequently cited in warehouses are relating to forklifts and hazard communications.
Warehouses present several unique risks. These include, but are not limited to:
- Unsafe use of forklifts
- Poorly stacking products
- Improper or lack of use of PPE or LOTO (Lock-Out Tag-Out) equipment
- Inadequate fire safety (such as a lack of Fire Extinguisher Inspection to ensure appropriate measures)
Here’s how we’re going to defend against each of these items noted:
- Proper and regular training in equipment use and product stacking and storage. Similarly, implement speed limits and best practices for moving loads with equipment.
- Provide proper and regular training in the use of PPE and LOTO procedures. Furthermore, ensure policies include penalties for PPE and LOTO infractions. Ensure the penalties are acceptably severe and regularly communicate these policies to all personnel to ensure compliance. Remember, although you want and need enforcement, you need buy-in from personnel to ensure they understand the valid reason for the policies – to keep everyone safe.
- Provide proper and regular training in fire prevention and applicable emergency procedures. Fire prevention includes hosting fire drills, regularly inspecting fire prevention equipment, and ensuring that all equipment functions properly.
These three steps alone won’t solve all the compliance issues, but they will certainly fix many. However, you need to know that the warehouse is a complex work environment so it will be more challenging than merely three steps. There are fourteen components of the OSHA standards that you need to consider, as follows.
OSHA Standards Enforcement & Our Solutions
At 1st Reporting, we aim to bring you the best, most coherent, and up-to-date solutions so you can keep working safely and efficiently. To achieve this, we’ve created various guides, downloadable templates, and our next-generation app, 1st Reporting (available at Google Play and The Apple App Store).
Here are a variety of OSHA standards applicable to warehouse environments and our functional published solutions for each. Remember, with any of our templates that may not meet your branding or other specific requirements, you can quickly build your custom solution with our app, 1st Reporting. Book a Demo today.
1910 Subpart D – Walking-Working Surfaces
Try our Floor Inspection Checklist
1910 Subpart E – Exit Routes and Emergency Planning
1910 Subpart F – Powered Platforms, Manlifts, and Vehicle-Mounted Work Platforms
Try these solutions:
- Fall Protection Safety Harness Daily Inspection Checklist
- Scaffold Inspection Checklist
- Scissor Lift Inspection Checklist
- Aerial Lift Inspection Checklist
- Operator Walk Around Inspection Checklist
- Ladder Inspection Checklist
1910 Subpart G – Occupational Health and Environmental Control
1910 Subpart H – Hazardous Materials
Try our Dangerous Situation Report Form
1910 Subpart I – Personal Protective Equipment
Check out our Complete Industry PPE Guide
1910 Subpart J – General Environmental Controls
1910 Subpart K – Medical and First Aid
1910 Subpart L – Fire Protection
Try these solutions for your fire prevention program:
Checklists and Forms:
- Fire Extinguisher Inspection Checklist
- Fire Drill Checklist
- Fire Exit Inspection Checklist
- Hot Work Permit Template
- Fire Incident Report
1910 Subpart N – Materials Handling and Storage
Material handling safety management solutions for your business:
- Loading Dock Safety Guide For Managers
- Trailer Inspection Checklist
- Checklist For Forklift Inspection
- Forklift Certification Explained
1910 Subpart O – Machinery and Machine Guarding
Your machinery and equipment pose risks that you can’t ignore. Here are some solutions to help you manage easier.
1910 Subpart P – Hand and Portable Powered Tools and Other Hand-Held Equipment
Equipment like hand tools is easy to lose track of management. Here are some related solutions:
1910 Subpart S – Electrical
Electrical safety-related solutions for your business or organization:
- Electrical Inspection Checklist
- Arc Flash Suit Inspection Guide and Checklist
- Keep Staff Safe From These 11 Common Electrical Hazards (And Safety Tips For Management)
1910 Subpart Z – Toxic and Hazardous Substances
Hazardous substance management solutions, templates, and guides:
If you want all the templates, inspection reports, forms, and abilities you need for a complete safety inspection and management solution, try 1st Reporting.