What is occupational safety and health administration (OSHA) role in warehousing safety? The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), was established under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 in order to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. Since the administration began, occupational deaths have been cut by 62% and injuries have declined by 42%. OSHA achieves this in large part by inspecting work facilities and issuing certifications 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 serious responsibility of warehouse managers is the maintenance of warehouse safety. The most common areas for which OSHA issues warehouse certifications 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. Forklift Forklifts can be dangerous, OSHA records about 100 warehouse employees are killed and 95,000 injured every year in forklift accidents while operating forklifts.
The majority of fatalities are caused by forklift turnovers. Being crushed between a forklift and another surface is the second highest percentage, followed by getting struck a forklift and then getting hit by falling material from a dropped load. OHSA issue guidelines on forklift operation including the following: * Train, evaluate and certify all operators to ensure that they can operate forklifts safely * Do not allow anyone under 18 years old to operate a forklift * Properly maintain haulage equipment, including tires
* Before using a forklift, examine it for hazardous conditions which would make it unsafe to operate * Follow safe procedures for picking up, putting down and stacking loads * Drive safely, never exceeding 5 mph and slowdown in congested areas or those with slippery surfaces * Ensure that the operator wears a seatbelt installed by the manufacturer * Never drive up to a person standing in front of a fixed object such as a wall or stacked materials * Prohibit stunt driving and horseplay
* Do not handle loads that are heavier than the weight capacity of the forklift * Remove unsafe or defective trucks from service until the defect is properly repaired * Maintain sufficiently safe clearances for aisles and at loading docks or passages where forklifts are used * Ensure adequate ventilation either by opened doors/windows or using a ventilation system to provide enough fresh air to keep concentrations of noxious gases from engine exhaust below acceptable limits * Provide covers and/or guardrails to protect workers from the hazards of open pits, tanks, vats and ditches * Train employees on the hazards associated with the combustion byproducts of forklift operation, such as carbon monoxide Hazard Communication Hazard communication refers to the information about chemical hazards and the associated protective measures that is communicated to employees and employers. Chemicals pose a wide range of health hazards, such as irritation, and physical hazards, such as flammability and corrosion. Chemical manufacturers and importers to evaluate the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import; and providing information about them through labels on shipped containers and more detailed information sheets called material data safety sheets (MSDS).
OSHA recommends a number of measures with regards to Hazard communication: * Maintain a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for each chemical to which workers are exposed in the facility * Follow instructions on the MSDS for handling chemical products * Train employees on the risks of each chemical being stored * Provide spill cleanup kits in any area where chemicals are stored * Have a written spill control plan * Train employees to clean up spills, protect themselves and properly dispose of used materials * Provide proper personal protective equipment and enforce its use * Store all chemicals safely and securely * Store chemicals away from forklift traffic areas Electrical Safety
Many times electrical hazards are the cause of injuries and fatalities in the workplace. As well as being dangerous in a warehouse it is one of the leading causes of accidents in construction sites. The first step towards electrical safety is controlling or eliminating factors in your warehouse that pose electrical hazards. Ground fault electrical shock is a common electrical hazard. OSHA requires that employers provide ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) for receptacle outlets. Warehouses should provide assured equipment grounding conductor program. Either of these methods can eliminate hazards in ground fault electric shock. Conveyors
Workers can be injured when they are caught in pinch points or in the in-going nip points, are hit by falling products or develop musculoskeletal disorders associated with awkward postures or repetitive motions. OSHA recommended solutions: * Inspect conveyors regularly * Ensure that pinch points are adequately guarded * Develop ways of locking out conveyors and train employees in these procedures * Provide proper lighting and working surfaces in the area surrounding the conveyor Guarding Floor And Wall Openings and Holes The easiest way to avoid falls in the warehouse is by eliminating and controlling fall hazards. This can be achieved by the use of fall protection equipment or devices. There are basically two types of fall protection. With a combination of both, you can ensure a safer environment for employees who are exposed to fall hazards.
One type of fall protection is the fall restraint; these systems consist of equipment that prevent a free fall, for example guardrails/standard railings, full body harness, and warning lines. The other type is the fall arrest, these systems help by stopping a fall in progress or saving an employee in the middle of a fall, for example the use of safety nets. Charging Station The risks of explosion and fires at charging stations can be prevented by certain safety precautions, according to OSHA. Smoking should not be permitted in areas of charging stations, and proper ventilation should be provided. Employees should wear personal protective equipment, such as eye and face protection and rubber gloves.
Emergency equipment should be available, including fire extinguishers, safety shower and eye washing facility. OSHA recommended solutions: • Prohibit smoking and open flames in and around charging stations • Provide adequate ventilation to disperse fumes from gassing batteries • Ensure that fire extinguishers are available and fully charged • Provide proper personal protective equipment such as rubber gloves and eye and face protection. • Properly position forklifts and apply brakes before attempting to change or charge batteries follow required procedures when refueling gas or propane fueled forklifts. • Provide conveyors, overhead hoists or equivalent materials handling equipment for servicing batteries.
• Provide an eye washing and safety shower facility for employees exposed to battery acids. Lifting and Handling To prevent back injuries, training should be provided for general ergonomics and proper lifting techniques, according to OSHA. It is also advisable to incorporate engineering and design techniques to minimize the need for lifting. Lifting equipment should be used for heavy items. Adequate overhead lighting should be provided, and floors should be kept clean and free of hazards. Respiratory Protection Many accidents occur each year and most of the time it’s because of the absence or lack of personal protective equipment (PPE). OSHA strictly regulates employers to provide their employees with proper PPE.
Many accidents occur not because of absence or lack of PPE but because employees do not to wear it. This is particularly true of respiratory protection. In some warehouses there is the presence of toxic airborne substances. This is where respirators should be used by employees. Respiratory protection is designed to protect the wearer from dust, fumes, paint spray, pesticides and other substances that could bring about long-term or permanent impairment or even death. As with other types of PPE, safety programs provided to warehouse employees must specify the proper ways to clean maintain and repair respirators. Lockout/Tag out In the warehouse there is often defective or damaged equipment.
It is important that these items are tagged with an “Out of Service” until it gets replaced or repaired. This will keep employees away from items that may cause serious injury or illness. According to OSHA, tag is “a device usually made of card, pasteboard, plastic or other material used to identify a hazardous condition”. Many companies are cited by OSHA because tags are not used in the correct way. General Guidelines Besides setting guidelines in complying with the standards above in the warehouse setting, OSHA offered these safety measures for warehouse workers’ general safety: * The facility must have proper lockout/tag out procedures. * The warehouse must be well ventilated.
* All floors, aisles and surfaces must be free of clutter, hoses, spills, electrical cords and other materials or factors that could cause slips, trips or falls. * Proper guards must be provided for exposed or open loading dock doors and other similar areas that could cause employees to fall 4 feet or more. * Employers must factor in proper work practices when determining the time requirements for each employee in accomplishing every task. * Workers who have to perform physical work must have enough periodic rest breaks to avoid fatigue. * All newly-hired employees must receive both general ergonomics training and task-specific training. * Every employee must be trained on how to avoid heat stress in hot and humid environments.