Placing safety-related signage throughout your warehouse is not an effective safety strategy, at least not by itself. As a matter of fact, regularly scheduled safety meetings and training sessions should always be a top priority. These are not only complementary to one another, but they are also critical to preventing warehouse-related accidents.
While education and awareness are the two easiest ways to reduce the potential of accidents occurring, they only go so far. Warehouse managers must also make these changes within the facility on a practical level. Whether this means spending more time and resources training people or improving the condition of your warehouse, the safety of everyone who visits should take priority.
The summer season is when most warehouse related accidents occur. In some cases, it's a minor trip or a fall - and in worst cases, it can result in fatalities. Additionally, it not only costs the company money, but also leads to downtime, and can severely impact daily operations.
Safety should be the leading priority of any business, but especially warehouses. Warehouses experience larger and larger amounts of onsite accidents every year.
So, today we are talking a bit about what contributes the most to this growing problem and how it can be minimized.
Grab your safety signs, put on a hard hat, and read on!
Outlining the Facts About Warehouse Related Accidents
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, tripping or falling accidents contribute to 15% of all accidental deaths every year. These accidents also equate to 25% of all injury claims due to accidents in the workplace. But here's the shocking statistic that most people don't realize...
On an annual basis, a simple trip or a fall results in over 95 million last workdays every year. And when we are talking about large-scale operations, that is a lot of lost revenue going down the drain due to preventable circumstances.
When it comes to accidents in the warehouse, there are situations in which most accidents occur.
In 2018, the top 5 sources of warehouse related accidents were shipping docks, forklifts, conveyor belts, material storage locations, and finally, improper lifting and handling techniques. The top 3 injuries occurred due to lifting, pushing, reaching, or pulling.
In most cases, these injuries happened in facilities that do not mandate or even recommend simple stretching exercises prior to beginning a work shift.
The Impact of Forklift Accidents
The last Labor Statistics available for forklift accidents in US warehouses indicate that more than 20,000 workers were injured due to a forklift-related accident. Roughly 25% of the time, the injury was due to a forklift overturning, which according to most forklift certified trainers is usually due to human error. The tragic statistic is that every year more than 100 people lose their lives in forklift warehouse accidents.
Although forklift accidents are commonly discussed as major safety hazards and concerns, manually operated pallet jacks also cause 10’s of thousands of accidents each year. Whether moving overloaded pallets, faulty equipment, or jacking a damaged pallet, most pallet jack related accidents are preventable.
With some basic maintenance and proper training, both of these types of accidents can be minimized greatly. Sounds simple, right? Well, that's because it is. The problem is that it just often goes overlooked.
The Financial Pinch
There is no way to put a monetary value on human life. However, when it comes to financial operations of any business, risk assessment typically results in analyzing the financial impact.
According to the National Safety Council, the average direct cost to a company that has a workplace-related accident that results in any medical treatment is a direct cost of $38,000. The direct costs include paying for medical treatment, insurance coverage, and lost wages dirty work and workers compensation claims.
However, what is not commonly known is that the same minor accidents can cause an indirect cost approaching $150,000. Additionally, there are OSHA fines in excess of $70,000 for repeat offenders. That's not to mention the potential for civil litigation that can exceed millions of dollars.
Warehouse safety should be a priority for businesses of all shapes and sizes in any industry. Unfortunately, it is still an area of business that many companies find themselves lacking in.
Ready to start implementing safety protocols in your own warehouse but don't know where to start? Reach out to our team of warehouse management experts here at Redwood Logistics! We have many years of experience in the logistics and shipping industry. And in that time, we like to think that we know a thing or two about safe operations!