OSHA and Warehouse Safety
OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, was established under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 in order to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. OSHA accomplishes this in large part by inspecting work facilities and issuing citations or fines for violations of the law. Warehouses are a central component of any business supply chain and as such are frequently targeted by OSHA. A critical responsibility of warehouse managers is the maintenance of warehouse safety. This brief guide will provide you with an overview of OSHA policy as it pertains to warehouses. It will also help you improve the safety of your warehouse, which will serve both to protect your employees from harm and to prevent any OSHA-issued citations or fines.
The most common areas for which OSHA issues warehouse citations are forklifts, hazard communication, electrical wiring methods, electrical system design, wall openings and holes, exits, mechanical power transmission, respiratory protection, lockout tags, and portable fire extinguishers. Forklifts can be dangerous machines if proper care is not taken in their use. OSHA reports approximately 100 deaths and 95,000 injuries resulting from forklift accidents every year. To prevent forklift-related injury and death in your warehouse, be sure that all of your operators are trained, evaluated, and certified in forklift operation. Be sure that their speed never exceeds 5 mph and that they do not operate in heavily congested areas.
Hazard communication is especially important in warehouses storing hazardous chemicals. Ensure that your warehouse workers are trained in the risks of these chemicals and that they are able to control and clean spills. Spill cleanup kits are essential and must be provided in any chemical storage area. Electrical safety can be improved by eliminating ground fault electrical shock. OSHA mandates that all warehouse receptacle outlets be provided with ground fault circuit interrupters. Wall openings and holes must be guarded with a fall-protection system, which can come either in the form of a fall restraint with a full-body harness, or a fall arrest system consisting of safety nets.
Your employees’ respiratory health can be guarded by providing them with personal protective equipment, a policy which is mandated by OSHA. Most respiratory accidents occur because employees do not wear this equipment, so be sure your warehouse workers are trained in its use and that they know when its use is necessary. Your employees must also be trained in the cleaning, maintenance, and repair of their respirators. Lockout issues often arise when a defective machine is not tagged with an “Out of Service” sign. According to OSHA, these can be made with card, pasteboard, or plastic. It is important that defective devices be tagged so that employees do not attempt to use them, which could result in serious injury or death. Improper tagging is a common reason OSHA will cite or fine a company https://cite4me.org/blog/how-to-write-movie-titles/.
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