It’s the perfect time to talk about warehouse hazards – after all, the scariest holiday is just around the corner.

Warehouse workers face several hazards every day. Over time, these risks seem to lose their potency as workers experience them day-in and day-out. That being said, warehouse hazards are persistent, never becoming less dangerous as time goes by. That’s why it’s important to talk about warehouse hazards, keep them in mind, and have precautions in place to prevent them.

Today, in the spirit of Halloween, we’ll be taking a look at the top 5 scariest warehouse hazards and ways to mitigate their individual risks.

1. Forklifts

Whether you’re lifting a pallet full of pumpkins or a crate full of candy, forklifts are a staple piece of manufacturing equipment across the globe – this makes them one of the biggest warehouse hazards out there.

Forklifts move your business, literally, but they can also cause some of the biggest manufacturing incidents out there. In fact, 85 deaths happen per year in the United States because of forklifts. Why is this? Well, there are quite a few reasons.

Forklifts move your business, literally, but they can also cause some of the biggest manufacturing incidents out there. In fact, 85 deaths happen per year in the United States because of forklifts. Only licensed individuals should… Click To Tweet

Carrying pallets and crates with forklifts can be dangerous as-is, but there’s another factor that increases this warehouse hazard. When forklift operators lift products, their vision is obscured. This can cause many problems as forklift operators are often required to navigate the forklift while the products are still lifted. This obviously poses several different warehouse hazards – but that’s not all!

Let’s be honest, if you’ve ever been around a forklift, you’ve probably wanted to drive it. After all, it can’t be that much different than a car, right? Wrong. Besides the forks out front, forklifts turn with their rear wheels, making it significantly different than driving a car.

Despite these differences, warehouse workers can get a false sense of confidence when attempting to operate a forklift. Only licensed individuals should operate forklifts. Despite the familiarity, these key differences create several warehouse hazards if operated by untrained individuals. Scary, right?

2. Loading Docks

One of the scariest hazards in the warehouse are the loading docks.

Loading docks are one of the most active spaces in the warehouse. Unloading and loading stock and orders can seem like a mundane task, but it really can be a dangerous activity – especially when using forklifts.

As previously mentioned, forklifts pose their own unique warehouse hazards, they can be dangerous for products and people alike. Combined with forklifts, loading docks pose a significant threat. Many warehouse fatalities happen when forklifts are loading and unloading products from the loading dock.

These horrible accidents occur when the forklift goes over the ledge… obviously, this can happen in several ways, but nonetheless, none of them are preferable.

To prevent incidents like this, manufacturers are encouraged to keep the ledges of loading docks clear of debris and highly visible (neon tape, reflective stickers, etc.). Additionally, when loading docks are being used it’s encouraged to keep the transition between dock and truck as smooth as possible. This can be done by adding improved ramps and/or adding locks for semi-trucks on the edge of the dock.

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3. Manual Lifting

One of the scariest things warehouse workers can be told is, “Put your back into it!”

Manually lifting objects is one of the most common activities in warehouses, over time this can become a significant hazard. Whether it’s your back, knees, shoulders, hips, or elbows, your joints simply aren’t invincible. Repeating the same motion over and over again – picking up boxes, stacking objects, or putting products together – can eventually lead to the joints being used to wearing out.

Manually lifting objects is one of the most common activities in warehouses, over time this can become a significant hazard. Whether it’s your back, knees, shoulders, hips, or elbows, your joints simply aren’t invincible. Click To Tweet

There’s a reason many warehouse workers can be seen wearing ergonomic PPE – back or knee braces. These precautionary devices help prevent further joint damage and support the joints that are continually being used in this line of work.

4. Moving Parts

In manufacturing, moving parts can present a huge warehouse hazard.

Rotating machines, saws moving, and things being compressed are all part of many different manufacturing machines. Warehouse workers can grow weary of the dangers these tools present, especially when they’re using them every day.

Good signage, frequent training sessions, creating a safety culture, and employee accountability programs can help with this ‘machine-desensitization’. All of that being said, it’s important that warehouse workers and employers stay diligent in making sure everyone is safe around manufacturing machines.

5. Materials Storage

If there’s one thing that can silently become a warehouse hazard, it’s storing materials.

In many warehouses across the world, stacks of products or pallets line the isles. Even though this can be necessary, unless you have JIT delivery, it doesn’t mean it’s any less dangerous.

Stacking products can be a dangerous activity. Warehouse workers run the risk of products falling off the top or product stacks falling over. When these stacks fall, there’s obviously the risk of injury, but also the risk of damaging other products, and the inconvenience of having to spend time reorganizing.

When stacking products in a warehouse, workers should never stack higher than they can reach with their feet on the ground – obviously, this changes if forklifts are involved. If stacks seem unstable, they probably are. It’s recommended that unstable stacks be reorganized to maintain the integrity of the stack.

Hopefully, These Warehouse Hazards are Less Scary Now

Warehouse hazards, as far as we can tell, will always continue to exist. Hopefully with this list though, we’ve brought you some insight on how to prevent the scariest warehouse hazards from turning into accidents!

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