A warehouse is the nerve center for a material handling business. It houses your products, provides a work area for employees, and is the setting for key points in the supply chain operation. Keeping your warehouse safe is of paramount importance, not only to fulfill legal responsibilities but also in maintaining good business practices. Scheduling regular inspections as part of your operational calendar is a means for maintaining optimal conditions.
Why a warehouse safety inspection?
Most don’t relish the thought of warehouse inspections, but there are a host of reasons to perform due diligence and stay on top of this issue. They include:
There are over 145,000 warehouse workers in the U.S. and the fatal injury rate is higher in the warehousing industry than the national average for all industries, according to OSHA. Ensuring good conditions for your workers and maintaining correct working habits by your staff are the building blocks to establishing a safe work environment.
A warehouse accident due to unsafe conditions has the potential to rack up significant charges. Consider the compiling costs of an accident; the National Security Council estimates the average work-related injury costs $38,000 directly and $150,000 indirectly. Preventing this kind of loss is a major boost to the bottom line.
There are many components within a warehouse, some in constant use, and the effects of wear and tear or other brewing problems can slip through the cracks. This is particularly important for any hazardous materials in use within your warehouse. An inspection is a means for searching out any lurking problems.
There is value in being able to share with the community at-large that yours is a regularly-inspected and safely operating warehouse. Finding workers can sometimes be a challenge and sharing your commitment to safety can be key to attracting quality personnel.
Things to consider before a safety inspection
Before your inspection, take inventory of your equipment and materials. There are a host of potential hazards that can reside in a warehouse – biological, chemical and ergonomic – as well as the working conditions related to machinery, temperature, noise and radiation. Look for gaps in your current control measures and assess your emergency preparedness, including availability of First Aid equipment.
Hire an expert!
You’ll want a material handling equipment and warehouse systems expert to analyze your work area and provide solutions that work. When taking note of any issues, a warehouse inspection expert will put together a plan of action to address problems. They’ll provide consistent documentation which will equip you to be proactive when addressing areas of concern. Look over OSHA safety rules to be better prepared.
- Fall protection, construction
- Hazard communication, general industry
- Scaffolding, construction
- Repiratory protection, general industry
- Control of hazardous energy, general industry
- Ladders, construction
- Powered industrial trucks, general industry
- Machinery and machine guarding, general requirements
- Fall protection, training requirements
- Electrical, wiring methods, components and equipment, general industry
During an inspection, general warehouse areas, interior and exterior dock areas, equipment, sanitation, training, and general safety will all be assessed, according to OSHA.
Below are a few examples from a typical OSHA inspection checklist:
- Are rack uprights and beams in good condition? Bent racks and beams must be repaired or replaced. All racks should be bolted to the floor. (General warehouse areas.)
- Are forklifts being operated safely and inspected at the start of every shift? Observe powered industrial truck operations and review training certifications to confirm operators have been adequately trained and evaluated. (Equipment.)
- Are accidents, near misses and injuries being investigated and are unsafe conditions being corrected, reported / documented in a timely manner? (General safety.)
Stay on top of potential safety problems with routine inspections
A warehouse safety inspection is a means for keeping on top of potential safety problems, either overt issues or those that are quietly brewing. It’s a way to show both your employees and the wider community that your business is proactive about safety and security within its walls.
Looking to set up a safety inspection for your warehouse? Wondering how this is done and what you get out of it? Contact us or give us a call at 800.441.2624!