Warehouses in Iowa are typically hives of activity with too much to do and too little time. Inadequate resources and insufficient time often lead to cutting corners and taking shortcuts. Many employers focus on profits instead of employee safety, not realizing that soundly implemented safety standards typically improve the bottom line. After all, employers are responsible for employee safety and health.
If you work in a warehouse, you will benefit from becoming familiar with all the potential hazards. That will allow you the opportunity to take the necessary precautions and return home safely at the end of each day.
Safety hazards in your workplace
Although the list of dangers in any warehouse is endless, the following are the most prevalent hazards:
- Falls: Although you risk falls when you work at elevated levels, slips and trips frequently cause falls that result in injuries ranging from mild to catastrophic. Insist on fall protection such as guardrails and a fall harness.
- Slips and trips: Efficient housekeeping is crucial to prevent falls caused by slips and trips. Mitigation of this hazard involves addressing sawdust and other loose materials, liquid spills or leaks, randomly placed boxes and other objects, dark areas and unnecessary steps or ridges in walkways and other surfaces.
- Crush injuries: Beware of press machines, augers, and mobile equipment or vehicles that can cause crush injuries.
- Fire hazards: Clearly marked exits and emergency strategies are crucial. Fire hazards include old and worn or damaged extension cords, snaking power cables across walkways and leaking flammable gases and fluids.
- Ergonomics: Proper lifting techniques are crucial to mitigate ergonomic hazards. Ergonomic solutions can prevent musculoskeletal injuries caused by constant lifting, pulling, pushing and stretching.
- Falling objects: Be careful around stacks of material on platforms and shelves. Make sure stacks are in balance and not too high, and take particular care when stacking cylindrical objects that can roll off shelves and cause crush injuries.
- Moving machine parts: Insist on machine guarding, and never put your hands into machines with moving parts without following proper lockout/tagout procedures. Injuries caused by moving parts can cause permanent disabilities.
- Training and education: Always attend safety training, even if you have heard it all before. Regular training in hazard identification and mitigation can prevent complacency that is the cause of many warehouse accidents.
- Heavy equipment accidents: Regardless of whether you operate equipment such as forklifts, or work as a pedestrian where mobile equipment operate, always comply with prescribed safety regulations and never lose sight of the dangers these machines pose.
If you fall victim to a warehouse accident, injuries could be severe, and the financial consequences might overwhelm you. How will you provide for your family if you cannot return to work? An experienced Iowa workers’ compensation attorney can provide valuable support and guidance with the filing of benefits claims for compensation to cover medical expenses, lost wages and any additional benefits available under applicable laws.