Creating a Safe Environment for Warehouses

Warehousing is one of the riskier industries due to high-powered machinery and vehicles operating within proximity of each other. Rapid growth in e-commerce is driving an ever-increasing demand for the delivery of products in shorter timeframes. Industrial and commercial warehouses are to keep up with this demand while complying with the current safety expectations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports thousands of injuries, illnesses, and deaths in the warehousing industry annually. Many of those are caused by workplace accidents such as slips or falls, hazardous materials, and equipment malfunction. Warehouse safety should be the employers’ utmost priority to keep employees safe, ensure efficient operation, maximize productivity, and minimize injury or damage. Below are some factors to consider when planning a safe environment for warehouse employees.

creating a safe warehouse environment

 

Building a Safety Culture and Procedures

Establishing comprehensive safety procedures can help prevent workplace accidents in warehouses and promote a safe work environment.  An engaging safety procedure starts from the top-down; management should walk the talk in cultivating such values into the company culture. While employees may have the required certification for the job, this does not always include in-depth safety training. Thus, providing ample opportunities for employees to access safety resources, including signage, safety stickers, regular safety meetings, and safety training, is essential in creating a safe work environment. Consider developing training programs with the help of industry subject matter experts that offer blended and interactive training solutions. Ideally, a comprehensive training program should include a good mix of on-site training, hands-on validation, online learningwebinarstoolbox talks, and virtual reality courses in multiple languages for easy access.

Other good practices include posting signs around the warehouse indicating different safety procedures, regular communication on safety tips, and announcements on new safety procedures. Incentivize workers to take safety courses and recognize their efforts to demonstrate exemplary safety protocol. Consider putting together a safety handbook or manual that includes potential hazards, safety protocols, and rules.

Lockout/Tagout Procedure

Establishing a complete and comprehensive Lockout Tagout program that includes clear and precise lockout procedures for all workers is imperative, especially in heavy machinery warehouses. Routine training on using the equipment, shutting it down correctly, and isolating the power sources by following the proper lockout tagout procedures can prevent accidents and avoid fines, ensuring the highest level of safety in your warehouse.

Key Takeaways

Warehouse workers are more likely to internalize the safety culture and take it seriously when they know the company is responsible, accountable, and invested in their well-being. A safe work environment helps warehouses build a good relationship with their employees and supports businesses in achieving higher recognition.

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Other related resources:

  • Warehouse safety best practices https://blog.sliceproducts.com/warehouse-safety-best-practices
  • Tips for improving warehouse safety https://ohsonline.com/articles/2021/04/01/ten-tips-for-improving-warehouse-safety.aspx
  • Warehouse safety tips https://www.fluxpower.com/blog/warehouse-safety-tips
  • Warehouse safety guidelines https://www.slideshare.net/envirotechint/warehouse-safety-guidelines

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Fatal Electrical Accident Causing a Power Outage Affected 46,000 Residents

Prince William, VA – An extended power lift hit an electrical transmission line causing the death of a construction worker from injuries. The incident also resulted in a power outage that affected schools and more than 46,000 residents in Woodbridge and Lake Ridge, according to Dominion Energy spokeswoman Sharonda Shepard.

The accident was first reported to Prince William County fire and rescue units at about 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 24, according to Assistant Fire Chief Matt Smolsky. Prince William Fire & Rescue teams worked with Dominion Energy to rescue the two construction workers trapped in the power lift. It came in contact with power lines near a Shorehaven apartment complex located in the 1600 block of Porters Inn Drive near Walmart. The Dominion Energy crews delayed the rescue effort until they could ensure it was safe. The worker’s death has been categorized as unattended and is under investigation by the Prince William County Police Department.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded a total of 5,333 fatal work injuries in the 2019 report. It represents the most significant annual number since 2007 in the United States, with a 2 percent increase from the 5,250 in 2018. Everyone would agree that we want to continue to decrease the number of workplace accidents across Canada, the United States, and the rest of the world.

To break the increasing trend and the number of fatal accidents, Martin Technical strongly encourages organizations to develop a caring and motivating culture towards employees by scheduling regular workplace health and safety training.

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Ohio Steel Mill Placed in Severe Violator Enforcement Program by OSHA

CANTON, OH – The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Association (OSHA) responded to a complaint of unsafe working conditions at Republic Steel in Canton Ohio. Inspectors found the automative steel mill failed to install adequate machine guarding, implement lockout/tagout measures, or train workers on safety procedures. These violations exposed workers to amputation hazards. As a result, OSHA has placed the steel mill in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.The violations of the company exposed workers to amputations hazards, leading OSHA to place it in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

Additionally, OSHA has proposed $220,399 in penalties. These penalties are accounted for by one repeat, seven serious, and three other-than-serious safety violations. The company was also cited for similar hazards in 2017.

In their press release, OSHA Area Director Howard Eberts stated, “To avoid amputations and other severe injuries, employers must install safety guards on machines and train workers on how to control hazardous energy and avoid coming in contact with operating machine parts. Republic Steel is well aware of their responsibility to ensure safety procedures are followed, yet once again, they’ve failed to do so.”

According to their website, Republic Steel, the company placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program, provides steel bar products for automakers, as well as coils, rods, and wires. They are based in Canton, OHIO, and a subsidiary of Grupo Simec of Guadalajara Mexico.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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OSHA’s Top 10 Safety Violations of 2020

 

The Occupational Health and Safety Association (OSHA) recently announced its top 10 safety violations for the 2020 fiscal year. Every year, OSHA announces its top 10 most frequently cited safety violations. This helps alert employers so they may prevent these hazards before they take place.

 

No. 10: Machine Guarding

Last year Machine Guarding ranked number 9. In 2020 it received 1,313 citations. It’s reassuring to see fewer citations in this standard. But, worker amputations continue to be a concern.

No. 9: PPE and lifesaving equipment related to eye and face protection

The previous year, eye and face protection was in spot number 10, so this citation has increased. This relates to PPE that prevents eye and face injuries including chemical, environmental and other hazards. This can include Arc Flash-related injuries. So, proper Arc Flash labeling programs are critical in ensuring PPE is worn in these situations.

No. 8: Fall Protection Training requirements

Citations were given out for failure to provide proper training materials and programs.

No. 7: Improper Use of Industrial Trucks

The Improper Use of Industrial Trucks held the same ranking as it did last year at 1,932 citations.

No. 6: Lockout Tagout (Control of Hazardous Energy)

Lockout Tagout went down from number #5 in the year prior. In 2020, it held 2,065 violations. Improper training and procedures are often to blame. Martin Technical offers LOTO training to prevent accidents and citations of this very kind.

No. 5: Improper use of Ladders

2,129 citations were given for the Improper use of Ladders in 2020.

No. 4: Scaffolding

Scaffolding moved from #3 to #4 in 2020 with 2,538 citations.

No. 3. Respiration Protection

This standard had 2,649 citations in 2020, moving from #5 to #3. This is both due to lack of fit testing and program management.

No. 2. Improper Implementation of Hazard Communication

Hazard Communication relates to the evaluation and clear identification of hazardous chemicals in the workplace. Related citations in 2020 numbered at 3,199.

No. 1: Fall Protection

Fall Protection has been the number one citation for 8 years, with 5,424 citations in 2020. In partnership with PIXO VR, we offer fall protection training through Virtual Reality training allowing a “hands on” experience of a previously inaccessible training experience.

Going Forward

These top 10 alone make up a total of 24,239 citations. What will you do to prevent citations, injury, and deaths in your facility in 2021?

If your safety program needs a tune-up, contact Martin Technical today. We look forward to earning your business. Call us at 866-234-6890, email [email protected], or contact us here.

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Coal Factory Claims One Worker’s Life in South Korea

YEOSU, South Korea – Sunday, January 10th, 2021, a 33-year-old mechanic for a coal storing company at the national industrial complex in Yeosu died after his body got stuck in a machine used for coal transportation. 

According to Yeosu Fire Station, the contract worker was caught in the machine starting around 7:55 p.m. Sunday and was taken out from the machine at 10:32 p.m. by rescuers dispatched to the scene. 

The badly injured worker was transported to a nearby hospital in cardiac arrest and ultimately died there around 11:42 p.m. The accident occurred while he was inspecting the machinery with another worker, who was the one that initially reported the emergency to the company.

Police and labor authorities in South Korea are investigating the exact circumstances of the incident and whether there have been any violations of safety guidelines. Machine Safety is essential to stay trained and informed of, even with routine inspections. 

In 2018, another worker fell to his death three meters off of a conveyor at the same company.

Sourced from Yonhap News.

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OSHA Investigates Worker Trapped by Machine

Hudson, N.C.- Last Tuesday, 12/29/20, at Sealed Air Corp. plant in Hudson, North Carolina, worker Alan Rothenberger was trapped in a machine for 45 minutes.

He was airlifted to a hospital and is currently in a coma due to brain damage caused by lack of air-flow to his brain for 10 minutes after the incident.

The North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) division has begun its investigation into the incident. 

“Based on the preliminary information that we have at this time, an employee was threading up a machine when their body was pulled into the machine causing crushing injuries to their torso,” OSHA said in a statement.

The incident is believed to have taken place when rollers did not have a clear stop or release button accessed, potentially being a lockout tagout machine issue or fault.  Sealed Air. Corp manufactures bubble wrap and foam.

Originally sourced from wsoctv.com

Image: pri.org

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Top Glove Worker Loses Hand in Machine Accident

Ipoh, Malaysia – A worker at a Top Glove factory in Ipoh, Malaysia lost his hand in an accident at the end of October.

The incident occurred at the factory at approximately 5:54 AM when the worker’s hand was severed because it was caught in a rotating shaft of a machine. Reportedly, the worker is in stable condition and was initially treated with first aid at the factory then taken to the hospital. 

One of the worker’s colleagues told Free Malaysia Today they have been under pressure as a factory to keep up with the demand of supplying medical PPE/gloves during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In 2018, A Thomson Reuters Foundation exposed and uncovered that some Top Glove workers were working significantly overtime, logging 12-hour shifts and clocking 90 to 120 hours of overtime a month. 

This incident in Ipoh occurred towards the end of 13 shift for this particular worker.

Top Glove has said that the company has complied with Malaysian labor laws. Top Glove is the world’s largest manufacturer of gloves, and the news of this machine incident comes weeks just weeks before it has been reported that as many as 17 employees tested positive for Covid-19 since January. 

Martin Technical aims to reduce worker injury through proper training and safety services.

Originally sourced from Free Malaysia Today.

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OSHA Fines AL Hardwood Business after Worker Death

OSHA worker deathSelma, AL- Miller & Co. Inc. is facing $218,192 in OSHA penalties for failing to protect their employees from struck-by hazards and improper machine guarding after a worker was injured, resulting in their death.

Founded in 1923, Miller & Co. Inc. is an Alabama-based hardwood business producing lumber and flooring. A piece of wood fatally struck a worker who was attempting to clear a jammed machine, which then prompted an investigation.

OSHA cited Miller & Co. Inc. for failing to lockout equipment prior to beginning maintenance, ensuring machines were properly guarded and training employees on lockout/tagout procedures. Specifically, OSHA cited Miller & Co. Inc. with the following two citations: Willful – 29 CFR 1910.147 (c)(4)(i) and Serious – 29 CFR 1910.147 (c)(7)(i).

Jose Gonzalez, Mobile, Ala. area director, said in a statement, “Employers are required to identify safety hazards, implement safety measures and train workers on the proper use of safety equipment. Tragedies such as this can be prevented if employers comply with workplace standards, as required by law.”

Martin Technical extends our sympathy towards the family and circle of the worker that lost his life to this accident. Reflecting on the statement above,  tragedies can and should be prevented- which is why our mission to improve workforce safety is driven by people who care about the greater good.

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Workers Avoid Injury in Maine Paper Mill Explosion

Jay, ME- Malfunctioning machinery sent wood fiber and other debris shooting into the sky after a massive explosion at a paper mill in Jay, Maine, Wednesday afternoon, officials said.

All employees at the mill have since been accounted for and no injuries were reported.

At 12:06 p.m., Jay police and fire officials received reports of an explosion at a paper factory operated by Pixelle Specialty Paper Solutions at 300 Riley Rd., Davis said. Pixelle spokeswoman Roxie Lassetter said a rupture in the pressure valve of a digester, which creates pulp from wood chips to be used in the paper, caused the explosion.

Lassetter said none of the 165 employees who were inside the building were near the explosion. Some employees and people close to the plant were treated at the scene for minor respiratory issues from the debris in the air, but no one was taken to the hospital, she said.

Lassetter said the blast sent water, wood fiber, and chemicals used during the pulping process into the air during the blast. Environmental officials from the state will assess the area for any hazards, she said.

Pixelle has yet to determine the extent of the damage. Fire officials and representatives from the company will start to assess the site Thursday morning, though Lassetter said the area of the blast has sustained “significant damage.”

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Fatality in California Raisin Factory

Sanger,CA- A woman died after her hair and clothing got stuck while clearing debris on Friday from a raisin processing machine, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said. The fatality from the incident happened at the Del Rey Packing Company’s dehydrator plant near Sanger, California.

The woman was identified as 33-year-old Yaneth Lopez Valladares.

Fresno Sheriff’s say Valladares got a piece of loose clothing caught in a machine used to process raisins.

The machine severely injured her, causing her to pass away at the scene as a result of the trauma she suffered, officials say.

Two other employees were nearby and immediately powered down the equipment and dialed 911. This was the woman’s second year working at this particular facility.

Valladares’s boss was too shaken and distraught to speak to us on camera, but he says his heart goes out to her family and friends.raisin factory fatality California

Cal OSHA is investigating the incident, which could take a few months to complete, and released this statement:

An employee working for a farm labor contractor named Blessed Harvest was working on a Stem Grading Line when their clothing got caught on a shaft to a cylinder that breaks up raisin bunches, causing the employee to strike their head.

They will also be looking to see if there were any violations at this facility and if proper training was given to employees.

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