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5 Ways to Reduce Accidents in a Warehouse

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Reducing Warehouse Accidents - warehouse worker on the floor
Albert Cormier
Albert Cormier
July 14, 2023

Many warehouse environments are potential accident sites. They often involve heavy material handling equipment, products stacked high on shelves, and employees carrying large loads. Injuries range from minor cuts and bruises to broken bones, sprains, or fatalities. Employers must provide safe working conditions for employees and take steps to prevent workplace injuries. On the other hand, employees must take the initiative to stay safe and work safely for themselves and their fellow workers. Warehouse accidents can be reduced if everybody takes responsibility for safety. Here are six practical ways warehouse owners and employees can work together to reduce injuries in the workplace.

1. Use Protective Equipment

Warehouse worker with protective equipment

Common warehouse accidents include slips, trips and falls, pallet rack collapse, and forklift accidents. These accidents can cause serious injuries, so providing employees with the right protective equipment is important. According to OSHA, about 100 workers die, while 95,000 get injured yearly while operating forklifts. Using protective clothing such as helmets, gloves, and boots can reduce the likelihood of these accidents if well utilized.

When working in a heat treating wood facility, for example, employees must be provided with protective clothing and masks to protect them from hazardous materials like smoke or dust. Employers must also provide appropriate safety signs around the workplace to remind workers of potential hazards.

2. Follow Proper Lifting Techniques

Improper lifting techniques cause numerous warehouse injuries. For instance, employees may bend or twist while trying to lift heavy objects, leading to back injuries. Others may try to lift boxes that are too heavy to handle, resulting in neck or shoulder injuries.

Employees should be trained in safe lifting methods and taught to practice good body mechanics. This includes bending at the knees instead of the waist, keeping objects close to the body when carrying them, and avoiding twisting while lifting. Employees should know their physical limitations and ask for help if an object is too heavy to lift alone. Material handling equipment should also be used whenever possible. In such cases, warehouse managers should ensure only qualified forklift operators can operate material handling equipment.

3. Improve Lighting and Flooring


Good lighting helps employees see potential hazards in their work environment, while proper flooring minimizes the chances of slips and falls. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls contribute to about 15 percent of warehouse accidents. Most of these falls occur due to poor lighting and wet, slippery floors.

Install lighting fixtures to provide proper lighting throughout the warehouse and regularly inspect them for burnt-out bulbs or frayed cords. The lighting should be bright enough to allow workers to see any obstacles and potential hazards. Warehouse owners should also equip them with proper flooring. Anti-slip mats or non-skid materials can be placed in areas prone to spills, such as loading docks and walkways. Ramps, stairways, and aisles should have handrails to reduce accidents in a warehouse.

4. Carry Out Preventive Maintenance

Most warehouse accidents can be prevented if regular preventive maintenance is done. The warehouse should be regularly inspected for potential hazards and preventive maintenance on equipment such as forklifts. This includes checking brakes, steering, tire pressure, and other truck parts before an operator uses it. Also, any equipment that has been damaged should be repaired or replaced immediately.

Preventive measures should be extended to warehouse fixtures such as racks, conveyors, and ladders. Check and reduce risks of falling objects by securing items on high shelves and using safety guards to protect workers from falling objects. Products stacked in boxes and pallets should be placed stably to prevent them from toppling.

5. Implement Safety Protocols

Workplace Safety Guide

Warehouse managers should develop safety protocols that employees must follow to reduce accidents in the workplace. This includes enforcing the proper use of personal protective equipment, prohibiting running or horseplay, emphasizing the importance of proper lifting techniques, and reminding employees to take regular breaks. Post safety notices at strategic areas in the warehouse to remind workers of potential hazards and encourage them to follow safe work practices.

Additionally, they should provide safety training to all personnel involved in warehouse operations. This should include forklift operators, supervisors as well as all other employees working in the warehouse. A safety protocol without training workers is ineffective, as they may not know how to follow the rules.

Warehouse managers should consider using pallets from a reliable pallet making company like Pallet Market, Inc., specializing in new, used, and custom pallets. Pallet Market, Inc. provides the highest quality pallets for commercial and industrial use.