Forklift Safety

  • Warehouse Safety: Some things you should consider

    One of the most important elements of warehouse safety is adequate employee training. That training should include basic workplace safety as well as how to operate the tools and machinery needed to keep the warehouse running smoothly.


    While many workplace accidents are the result of inexperience, others can be the result of too much experience. Employees can become so comfortable after working with a piece of heavy equipment such as a forklift for a long period of time that they forget how potentially dangerous they can be. That fact became all too evident in a case in which the owner of an equipment training school was thrown from a forklift and crushed to death--during the filming of a forklift safety video.

    Forklifts and the OSHA Industrial Lift Truck Standard

    Statistics show that there are approximately 34,900 serious forklift-related injuries and 85 fatalities each year in the U.S. alone. It's much more difficult to approximate the degree of human suffering associated with those statistics. The businesses where these accidents occur must often pay heavy fines and find themselves embroiled in costly lawsuits for years as a result of that suffering. Many are driven out of business as a result. To reduce the number of forklift injuries, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) now provides a useful daily checklist that can help ensure their safe operation.

    Slips and Falls

    Slips and falls are another common cause of workplace injuries, especially in warehouses where employees are in constant motion. Taking a few simple preventative steps can reduce the risk considerably. Clearly marking elevated areas, including steps, with reflective tape is one of those steps. Others include regular inspections for any type of potential hazards on the floor, including liquids, dark spots that can indicate slippery oil stains, loose materials or boxes. Anti-slip floor tape has also proven to be an effective safety tool. If the warehouse has more than one floor, installation and regular inspection of guard rails is vital.

    Warehouse Safety Equipment, Fencing and Barriers

    Sometimes injuries aren't caused by people falling, but by objects falling on them. The risk of being injured by a falling object is higher in warehouses, where items are stacked for storage. When employees lift loads to a higher level, the load must be secure. While plastic wrap may be sufficient to secure lighter loads, heavier ones may require metal or cloth straps. Plastic is also affected by temperature, and can stretch when exposed to heat.

    Having the right number of employees for the job is each job is also important. For example, there should always be a spotter while loads are being placed on high shelves that are not directly against a wall. Having someone to observe and direct for proper placement is the only way to avoid a precariously placed load that could fall off onto the other side.

    Hazardous Substances

    Warehouses usually contain a number of potentially hazardous, and flammable, substances. Those substances can contribute the safety hazards such as fire and exposure. That makes regular inspections of the storage containers for those substances for leaks a necessity. Exposure to hazardous substances can result not just in temporary illnesses, but in permanent physical damage.

    NEW! Updated Hazardous Materials Regulations

    Electrical outlets and extension cords should also be inspected regularly in any workplace where flammable substances are stored. According to the most recent information available, electrical malfunctions are involved in 18% of the 1,210 warehouse fires that occur every year. According to statistics from the National Fire Prevention Association, that makes it the single largest contributing factor.

    Safety Training

    Adequate safety training is essential for improving employee performance while reducing safety risks. While training can be costly in terms of time and personnel, it's not as costly as potential worker's compensation lawsuits or hefty government fines. According to 2012 statistics, the number one cause, of workplace injuries, or 25%, were the result of overexertion. Those injuries resulted in an estimated cost of $15.1 billion dollars. Safety training that includes proper lifting techniques is the most effective way to reduce those numbers.


    Investing in safety training actually saves money, but more importantly, it saves lives. Insurance actuaries and courts may decide the monetary value of a lost life, but for loved ones, the real value of a life is impossible to calculate.

  • Warehouse Safety Equipment, Fencing and Barriers

    WarehouseOSHA announces new requirements for reporting severe injuries and updates list of industries exempt from record-keeping requirements.

    Do not overlook the importance of safety equipment, in the planning of your warehouse facility design. At Warehouse Cubed we have machine fencing, barriers and guard rails to both protect the workers in your facility and help you to fulfill OSHA requirements of reducing severe injuries at your facility.

  • 5 Ways to Make Your Manufacturing Plant Safer

    In a manufacturing setting, safety should always be your top concern — ahead of productivity and efficiency. Your workers should be able to do their jobs knowing how to avoid injury or property damage, and they should be confident that their employer has taken every possible precaution to help them.

    From worker education to a clear evacuation plan, here are five ways you can make sure you are operating a safe manufacturing plant.

    1. Make a Safety Checklist Easily Accessible

    In many ways, plant safety falls to the employees, as they are the ones in regular contact with plant equipment. For that reason, worker education is crucial to plant safety. Whatever precautions you have in place for safe equipment and procedures, they don’t amount to much if workers are unaware of them.

    It’s your job make safety instructions easy to understand and accessible, and a safety checklist is an excellent start. Your list should cover personal safety as well as the safety of the plant (e.g., understanding safe work conditions, how to spot red flags, when to perform equipment maintenance).

    Post the list in preparation areas and break rooms. In addition to using the checklist as a general guide, make it enforceable. Follow up with each employee to make sure they are complying. Have your workers frequently inspect the plant using the list to ensure that they are familiar with it and that the plant actually is safe. In addition to safety, you can reference the checklist as a defense in the event of a work-related injury or lawsuit.

    2. Provide Emergency Attire

    In manufacturing, protective clothing is crucial for simple day-to-day activities — think helmets and protective eyewear. In an emergency, the need for protective attire can change dramatically and without much warning. And it can even affect employees who don’t typically work in hazardous conditions.

    Be sure your plant is equipped with such emergency attire as smocks or hazmat suits capable of protecting against chemical spills and burns. Facemasks and eyewear should be available throughout your facility in the event of noxious gas or fire. And make sure the employees assigned to overseeing an evacuation have brightly colored vests so that workers can easily find them.

    3. Frequently Inspect Your Equipment

    It is vital to general plant operations and worker safety that you have a strict equipment inspection schedule. Regular equipment inspections should be done at least every six months. You should also inspect any piece of equipment that has been moved, is being used in a new setting or is being used for a new purpose.

    Each worker should understand when inspections take place, and they should know how to do a brief inspection before every use — regardless of inspection schedules.

    4. Know How to Spot Safety Hazards

    Addressing hazards is just one part of a safe work environment. First, you must know how to spot them, and this takes training. It is important for you and your employees alike.

    You should be familiar with what types of safety hazards are common in your specific plant. That way, you can do regular walk-throughs of your facility and more easily spot the red flags that can result in accident or injury. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration website is an excellent resource for looking at different types of workplaces so that you can better identify unique risks.

    5. Have a Clear Emergency Exit Plan

    Even with all precautions taken, emergencies can happen. You must have a clear evacuation plan in place — and everyone in your plant should be familiar with it.

    Your emergency exits should be easy to find, and each employee should know exactly where to go in the event of an emergency. It does no good to have all employees crowding the same emergency exit, so be sure employees have multiple points of egress. It helps to have an “assignment” plan so that everyone is routed a specific way. An outdoor meeting point should be clearly defined. If most employees are gathering in the north parking lot while a few have exited to the south, the scramble to locate employees who are unaccounted for can add to the chaos.

    In the event of an emergency, you need to know who is working that day and how many people might still be in the building. A plant safety supervisor, or an assigned employee, should have easy access to a roster of employees who are in the plant on any given day so that they can take an accurate count of who is coming and going during an evacuation.

    For any type of safety concern within your plant, consult with the U.S. Department of Labor or OSHA.

    Author Bio:
    Tom Bonine is president of National Metal Fabricators. The Chicago area firm, established in 1944, offers custom fabrication, angle rings, welding, and bar milling services.

    OSHA Safety Training Products

  • Safety Stand-down

    Taking a Stand for Safety...

    Image of Safety Training materials Safety Books, CDs, Videos- Check out our Safety Collection!

    Construction contractors, the Federal Highway Administration, state and local government, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration partnered for a one-hour safety stand-down at construction sites in Georgia during National Highway Work Zone Awareness Week. From 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. on April 7-11, workers at construction sites voluntarily took part in work zone safety training focused on preventing worker fatalities and injuries from traffic objects and vehicles. Objects and vehicles striking workers are a leading cause of construction-related deaths. "Alliance members have demonstrated initiative and leadership by organizing this industrywide safety stand-down, which will heighten construction workers' awareness and ability to identify and help eliminate work-related hazards," said Teresa Harrison, OSHA's acting regional administrator for the Southeast.Construction-First-Aid-2

  • Health and safety in the warehouse

    WarehouseJust about any manufacturing business, and many other types of company, will require warehousing or other storage space of one sort or another. Large or small, managing that space comes with risks – and they may not be in places you’ve anticipated. As a business owner, you have a legal duty to protect your employees and the public from harm, to the extent that this is possible. Key to keeping safe is good risk assessment, which will identify:

    • Where the potential dangers lie
    • Who is at risk, and
    • What you might do to mitigate the problem

    Warehouse safety

    All things being equal, comparatively few accidents happen in warehouses. Far more problems occur in manufacturing and transporting goods than in their storage – perhaps because the purpose of storage is simply to keep things in one place until they are needed. Nevertheless, every year thousands of warehouse accidents are recorded, ranging from relatively minor through to serious injury.

    Safety Books, CDs, Videos

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