Warehouse work is the backbone of our economy, keeping goods supplied to businesses and consumers. A career working in a warehouse can be equally rewarding and challenging.
However, due to the physical demands of warehouse work, there is a potential to getting injured on the job. In 2021, there was an increase in the total number of injuries and illnesses in the warehousing industry. Having a solid injury prevention plan is essential to keeping all employees safe. Let’s explore warehouse safety tips that every employee should know.
Safety tips for warehouse workers
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) mission is to ensure safe and healthful work conditions and serves as the gold standard for workplace safety education.
Outlined below are general warehouse safety tips that all warehouse workers can use to help protect themselves on the job according to OSHA’s warehouse safety recommendations.
Wear proper safety equipment and PPE
OSHA requires that employers provide Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, to be worn for employee protection. Though PPE may vary by company, one thing remains consistent — wearing PPE is not an option; it must be worn at all times.
PPE often includes:
- Hard hats
- High-visibility jackets
- Hearing protection
- Safety glasses or goggles
- Steel-toed boots
Know about warehouse hazards
Knowing about warehouse hazards can help warehouse workers employ safe practices to avoid potential accidents. Each workplace should have safety binders as well as material safety data sheet binders for potentially hazardous chemicals. These binders outline what to do in case of an accident.
Read all hazard signs
Hazard signs are part of the universal symbols notifying workers about potential dangers at work. Bright hazard signs clearly identify possible health, chemical or injury risks at work. Recognizing and reading these signs can help keep you safe.
Wear proper clothing for working conditions
Proper clothing and PPE may overlap, depending on the worksite. For example, you might be required to wear coveralls or protective clothing at work. Generally, clothing that fully covers arms and legs is recommended. Leggings, shorts and skirts are not recommended. Clothing that is too loose can get tangled in the equipment.
Forklift accidents are the number one cause of vehicle injuries in warehouses. The forklift operator must be properly certified. If you are working in the same space as someone operating a forklift, be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Know your fire exits
In the event of a fire, you won’t have time to stop and ask for the fire safety exits. Know your fire exits, the location of fire extinguishers as well as the fire safety plan.
Be aware of gases and ventilation
Safety tips for warehouse employees also include being aware of ventilation and gas exposure. Airflow from the ventilation system helps to remove dust, debris and gas from the work area.
Never sit on conveyor belts
Avoid sitting, standing or climbing on conveyor belts. Loose clothing, hands and feet can get caught in the belt and cause significant injury.
Always ask for help when lifting heavy objects
Prevent muscular injury by asking for help when lifting heavy objects. It might cost you a few minutes to find a co-worker to assist, but it could save you months or even years of recovery from a back injury.
Know your designated pathways
Floor striping is a helpful way to recognize designated pedestrian pathways to avoid unwanted collisions. Stay safe by knowing your designated pathways.
Maintain 3 points of contact for pit equipment
The three points of contact rule for Powered Industrial Trucks (PIT) has to do with mounting and dismounting the equipment. Always make sure that you have three points of contact (1 hand + 2 feet or 2 hands + 1 foot) so that you can test your balance and grip before moving on or off the equipment.
Visit urgent care for injuries
If you need help assessing and treating warehouse injuries, visit one of our local locations. You can walk in or save your spot online. We’ll have you back to feeling better in no time.
1. United States Department of Labor. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Injuries, Illnesses and Fatalities. [Accessed February 8, 2023].
2. United States Department of Labor. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA Pocket Guide Worker Safety Series Warehousing. [Accessed February 8, 2023].