If you get a job in a warehouse, be prepared to enter a new world filled with hazards you’ll never encounter elsewhere. In fact, warehouses account for many on-the-job injuries and even deaths. Hopefully, you’ll receive adequate onboarding and training that will keep you far from danger while you do your job. But just in case, here are a few simple tips to memorize before you enter those massive warehouse doors. Here’s how to stay safe while working in a warehouse.
Always Keep Your Safety Equipment On
You should receive several pieces of protective equipment on your first day. Standard-issue protective gear can include a hard hat, protective footwear (with steel toes and likely tarsal plates), and a bright safety vest. Other equipment can include goggles or other protective eyewear, earplugs, gloves, back support belts, and masks, depending on your duties and location. As for your personal wear, avoid loose and baggy clothing that can interfere with your movements or potentially get caught in equipment or machinery. It’s also wise to wear clothes that are fire- and stain-resistant. As a side note, always report injuries right away, even if they’re seemingly minor.
Respect the Equipment
You’ll likely be working around moving equipment and small industrial vehicles such as hand trucks and forklifts. Forklifts and the like can make your and your coworkers’ lives easier, but make sure you know how to stay safe around them. Returning to the idea of loose clothing, just don’t wear it, and ensure your safety boots are always laced up to stay clear of any wheels or gears. In general, give forklifts a wide berth. Stick to walkways and paths where forklifts aren’t allowed to go, and keep your ears and eyes open for then, especially near corners while approaching aisles. Stay in the driver’s field of vision and out of their way.
Don’t Do What You Aren’t Trained To Do
With forklifts and other equipment in mind, no matter how often you’ve witnessed someone operating a piece of machinery, do not attempt to run it yourself without the proper training. This isn’t just good advice; it’s the law and a big point in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) rulebook.
Keep Things Clean
A clean working environment is a big part of how to stay safe while working in a warehouse. If you see or make a mess, clean it up or report it to the custodial staff. Unless it involves dealing with hazardous materials, take the time to pick up trash and put things back in order to prevent potential accidents or downtime caused by an accident. In the event of a bigger mess, alert maintenance and mark off the area with identifiable warning signs. Otherwise, though, get used to pitching in and handling a broom for lesser messes!