The fatal-injury rate for the warehousing industry is higher than the national average for all industries combined. Though some incidents may happen no matter what, safety violations are often the root cause of warehouse accidents.
This is why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) conducts about 100,000 facility inspections each year. Citations issued for violations are meant to fuel changes within the warehouse to ensure the safety of all workers.
All industries must play it safer
No enterprise exactly welcomes inspections and possible fines from OSHA violations. In fact, they can be a huge source of stress and cost you thousands of dollars. According to OHSA, its citations carry financial penalties up to $7,000 for non-serious violations, and up to $70,000 for repeat offenders.
This is happening not just to smaller organizations either. Warehouse safety is something even giant enterprises must contend with. Anheuser-Busch recently received a $162,000 fine from OSHA over the safety of their New Jersey warehouse, and Amazon was cited for violations in warehouse working conditions.
OSHA’s top 10 safety violations
Each year OSHA compiles a ranking of their top safety violations found by inspectors. Though the order of the violations may shift, the list remains pretty much the same, with forklift issues leading the way.
- Forklifts - operator training, certifications, pre-shift safety checklist and inspections, enforcement of speed limits, management of congestion and the routing of traffic
- Hazard communication – employee education regarding risks, spill and control plans, and proper disposal protocol
- Electrical, wiring methods – Factors that pose electrical hazards must be controlled or eliminated.
- Electrical, system design – OSHA requires that employers provide ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) for receptacle outlets. Charging stations should have adequate ventilation and fire extinguishers.
- Guarding floor & wall openings and holes – eliminating and controlling fall hazards by use of guardrails/standard railings, full body harness, warning lines and safety nets
- Exits – Routes must be clearly established and training provided for best, safest means of egress.
- Conveyers and mechanical power transmission – regularly inspected conveyors, adequately guarded pinch points, proper lighting, methods in place to lock out conveyors in need of repairs, and employees trained in safety procedures
- Respiratory protection – Employees must have and use personal protective equipment to protect from dust, fumes, paint spray, pesticides and other substances that could bring about injury or death
- Lockout/tagout – Access to broken or damaged equipment must be prevented by tagging with an “Out of Service” sign and/or locking out its operation
- Portable fire extinguishers – An adequate number of fire extinguishers, fully charged, must be in place, and employees must know locations and how to operate
Many organizations prevent OSHA citations and injuries by using a telematics platform to ensure that safety checklists are followed, disabled equipment is locked, and driver behavior is monitored with greater control and documentation. Fewer accidents means less lost time, fewer lawsuits, and a more motivated workforce