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Overlooked Warehouse Hazards

With heavy machinery being operated constantly and packages being pulled from far heights, the hazards associated with working in a warehouse are clear. However, there are some smaller, equally dangerous warehouse hazards which are less apparent and somewhat overlooked. Falling/tripping, hazardous spills, and overlooked hazardous situations all cause warehouse injuries as often if not more often than the blatantly obvious machinery accidents.

Falls. Even though most of the work in warehouses takes place on the ground level, falls are still a very real hazard. Ideally, a forklift will put away and retrieve items in full pallets which are securely wrapped. Some warehouses, though, require pallets to be taken apart and disassembled while they are still on the pallet racks, and the best way to do this is through the use of a lift. Lifts which are designated to raise employees need to have rails and security to keep the person on it safe, and lifts which are not designed to raise employees should not be raising employees. In addition to lifts, raised walkways and mezzanines also pose a falling hazard and should be properly secured and railed so as to avoid falling.

Human Error. Your forklift operators should be well trained in the safety measures needed to run heavy machinery. They should know to stay in the center of the aisles, stop at intersections, be aware of their surroundings, travel at the proper speed, and steer clear of all other forklifts. But human error does happen even if the operator is performing their duties properly. A forklift can hit a bump and accidentally and knock something off of a rack and onto a passerby. Placing bollards in strategic areas will help divert forklift traffic to safe areas where they cannot accidentally interfere with pallet racks and the products on them. You can also block off pedestrian walkways so they too will not interfere with the lanes designated for forklift traffic.

Hazardous Spills. Even if your warehouse facility is not a facility which handles hazardous materials, there are still usually some hazardous materials such as cleaning products or any flammable liquids floating around at all times. These spills need to be taken seriously and cleaned up immediately. Furthermore, hazardous materials should be stored or barricaded in areas where they cannot be accidentally spilled even if they are materials which are merely passing through the warehouse and not being permanently stored. Employees should also be properly trained in the handling and storage of these types of materials.

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