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5 Ways to Improve Warehouse Safety to Avoid Workmans' Comp Claims

Mark A. Simon Aug. 29, 2018

With an increase in demand for shipments, thanks to online ordering and more drop shipment options, there is such a great need to practice safety precautions in warehouses. Moving into some of the peak online ordering season, now is the best time to ensure your warehouse environment is prepare and regroup. Use these tips to avoid workmans’ comp claims at your business.

Have Protocols and Precautionary Safety Measures for Accidents

Slips, trips, falls, and other accidents account for a large number of warehouse incidents each year. If your company has outdated safety information, or none at all now, make it a priority to add. According to the OSHA Pocket Guide (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), some of the most common problems warehouse face include:

  • Forklifts accidents

  • Electrical systems and wiring incidents

  • Improper storage

  • Problems due to the door and wall openings

  • Exit-way accidents

  • Transmission failure

  • Not wearing a respirator in toxic areas

  • Lack of accessible fire extinguishers

  • Repetition in the workday

  • Blocked pathways

  • Hazardous material areas

  • Improper lock in and out procedures

  • Not using equipment properly

  • Disregarding proper lift techniques

As a team, work to create a master list of all potential hazards in your workplace. From there, create strategies on how to safely manage throughout each of these tasks. It also is beneficial to have annual sessions to freshen up on workplace training. This is a great way to revisit this hazards list and add anything new that has occurred in the last year.

It is crucial for all employees to practice all safety precautions in the warehouse to avoid injuries. Also, if OSHA decides to pay you a visit, dangerous environments can also be a costly write-up. Avoid all problems by having standards in place and practiced regularly.

Safety Committee to Host Routine Safety Trainings and Provide Signage

One of the top ways to bring something to the forefront is to make a routine out of it. For warehouse safety, put together a committee that is responsible for safety branding initiatives. A task for the team is to host monthly, mandatory safety meetings. Time is money, so it is important these meetings are as brief and to the point as possible. Have a safety topic each month where information is shared and build a community where the staff is proud to practice warehouse safety.

The committee should also be in charge of safety signage and awareness for the workplace. There can be a mix of lists that have all safety information—and small reminders, too. For instance, some of the smaller signage could note:

  • Steel-toe boot area

  • Wear a helmet and protective gear as needed

  • Use knees to lift heavy boxes

  • Wear harness in this area

  • Caution: High forklift traffic area

Tailor each of these signs to your particular business, based on your warehouse’s best practices. It is important that the signs be designed well and clear to read. If you have a marketing department in-house, connect with them for assistance on signage. If not, research the best signmaking in Denver, CO to find a company that you can work with.

Practice Proper Forklift Skills

One of the go-to reasons for accidents in a warehouse is forklift incidents. Some tips for practicing forklift safety measures are:Prior to use, inspect the forklift to ensure it is in good condition. It is also important to check fluids and mechanical features to ensure it is in working order. Check for damaged wires on electric units and gas issues on internal combustion units.

  • Always wear a seat belt

  • Only one person in a forklift at one time

  • When hauling a load, make sure it is always behind you and not in front

  • Avoid speeding

  • If you need to drive in the opposite direction, stop and look around you before proceeding

  • Do not turn while in a sloped surface

  • Wear proper shoes and gear while operating

  • Give your full attention when operating

  • Remove any debris in the route you will travel in your forklift (i.e. boxes or other machinery)

  • Never travel down an aisle or walkway without looking for people and sending an audible signal of your

  • presence

  • Do not operate in dark warehouses without headlights

  • Avoid rushing through loading and unloading

Perform Random Safety Checks

In order to ensure procedures are being followed, conduct random safety checks throughout the year. Ideally, having a consequence to not following the rules is a best practice to ensure employees do. It also serves as a great reminder to follow all rules knowing they could be observed at any time.

A best practice is to conduct them randomly. It can be an entire group or one person during the checks. When employees know they may have a negative consequence, they will be more apt to stick to the guidelines

Create Rewards Program for Employee Safety

To complement consequences for poor workplace safety behaviors, it is important to build morale for following protocol. Work with your team to find a rewards system for employees who follow safety precautions. A great idea to help keep track is to buy a sign that notes how many days has passed without a workplace accident. Update each day that there has not been an incident at work. Set goals and have a reward, such as time off or a free lunch, to reward for a specific amount of days without a workplace accident.

Remember, a safe environment is a happy one! If you are injured in the workplace, especially if it is due to a problem with your job, you may want to speak with an attorney. Mark A. Simon is your premier, local Denver workers’ compensation attorney. As you work to restore the quality of your health, take advantage of his services for any problems with your claim. He will help with denied claims and ones with issues to ensure you get the settlement you deserve. From temporary total and permanent disability to permanent total disability, his knowledge and expertise will help you win your case. Schedule your free consultation today by calling.