Warehouses can sometimes be dangerous places to work. For example, there are forklifts in congested aisles, conveyor belts with nip points and the heightened risks of falling objects from above. However, chemical safety is also a concern in certain industrial warehouses. Implementing these four policies will keep your workers and warehouse both safe.
Every warehouse should have a personalized hazardous communication (HAZCOM) policy that outlines everything from labels to safety data sheets. OSHA mandates that any company that requires workers to handle chemicals must provide proper PPE and safety data sheets for reference. Warehouses must not only provide these things, but also offer ongoing safety training. For example, employees new to handling chemicals must first receive JSA training that involves a hands-on demonstration of proper procedures. Workers must also be trained on the location and use of emergency equipment, such as eye or body wash stations.
Job Safety Analysis (JSA)
No warehouse can ensure safety without having clear and concise guidelines that instruct employees how to safety perform tasks. Every warehouse should have a Job Safety Analysis (JSA) policy that requires employees to follow the appropriate JSA guidelines when working, especially when handling chemicals. JSAs eliminate the need for employees to rely on experience, which is important because some tasks are infrequently performed. JSAs can be created through having a team of experienced workers and supervisors discuss and describe every job duty step-by-step. This process will often identify previously undetected hazards.
Every warehouse needs comprehensive monthly safety inspections, which typically involves safety committee members and maintenance and management personnel. Internal safety inspections are an excellent way to raise awareness about chronic, unresolved safety issues, such as dangerously cold temperatures. However, it will also raise awareness of undesirable work practices, such as poor housekeeping. It is highly recommended that warehouses create a map that lists the locations of emergency equipment. As a result, the inspection team will be able to check fire extinguishers, first aid kits and emergency eye wash stations.
There are many minor ways to improve the storage conditions of chemical containers. For starters, ensure that all products are stored in their original containers. Any containers that are rusty, leaking or cracked must be properly disposed of and replaced with identical containers. If your workplace is cold or if you handle materials that must remain at certain temperatures, Powerblanket products can keep your goods at the proper temps. Make sure that all containers still have the original labels on them. Consider using a laminating machine to create replacement labels. Some warehouses prefer to attach laminated safety data sheets to containers for quick reference.
To review, warehouses can increase chemical safety through training and using JSAs, which should be periodically reviewed so updated procedures or new hazard warnings can be added.