Working in a warehouse can be exciting, with ever-changing job duties and responsibilities. But warehouses are inherently dangerous workspaces. Your employer is required to follow federal, state, and local risk management guidelines. But as a front-line worker, you also have an important role to play in keeping yourself and your coworkers safe. Here are some tips.
How Can You Stay Safe Working in a Warehouse?
Rely on Your Training
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations require warehouse workers to be properly trained on each machine and job duty. If you are asked to do something outside your training, let your manager know that you aren’t signed off on it.
Lean into your training, especially when it comes to safety protocols. Make sure you are using proper safety gear and operating equipment as it was designed to be used. Don’t take shortcuts. Perform each task exactly as you were trained to do it.
Don’t Forget Your PPE
Personal protective equipment, or PPE, is essential on many job sites. Your PPE might include such items as steel-toe shoes, earplugs, safety goggles, or even a hard hat, depending on your location. Whether these are provided by your employer, or you are expected to bring your own, always use them whenever you are on the floor.
Watch Your Ergonomics
Repetitive use injuries are relatively common in warehouses, as are acute injuries from improper lifting techniques. Don’t try to be a hero. Always ask for assistance if needed. Make sure you are following proper ergonomic techniques and be sure to take regular breaks.
Pay Attention to Aisles
Think of warehouse aisles as streets filled with a combination of pedestrians and heavy equipment. The traffic patterns can be surprisingly elaborate. Always look both ways, merge safely, and pay close attention to all markings and signage.
Memorize Emergency Procedures
On the warehouse floor, an emergency can arise in an instant. Be sure you know what to do in a variety of situations, such as a fire or a chemical spill. Knowing what to do and acting quickly could save your life or that of a coworker.
Follow Proper Reporting Guidelines
If an injury or work-related illness occurs, report it to management right away. Even a seemingly minor incident could result in symptoms that don’t show up for a few days. Know how to file a written report, and don’t hesitate to do so.