OSHA Workplace and Warehouse Safety

If you work in a warehouse, you’ve likely heard the term “OSHA.” Standing for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the federal agency is the unit that creates and implements rules and regulations regarding safety in the workplace. From training manuals to certifications, the OSHA workplace and warehouse safety guidelines are the primary way to ensure employers are keeping their workforce safe and protected.

 

What is OSHA?

OSHA was created in 1970 by the enactment of the Occupational Safety Health Act. Before the legislation was proposed, there were few laws on the books to protect warehouse workers; as anyone who works around heavy equipment knows, however, strict protocol should be followed to ensure workplaces aren’t just productive but are secure and accident-free for all employees and members of the public. That’s the aim of the OSHA workplace and warehouse safety measures, which extend to nearly all private-sector employers in the United States, as well as some public-sector organizations

 

How Do OSHA Workplace and Warehouse Safety Rules Affect Me?

A federal agency may seem like it has little effect on the day-to-day of warehouse operations; however, its regulations heavily influence both employers and employees. Some of the core OSHA guidelines employers must follow include:

  • Informing employees of chemical hazards;
  • Finding and fixing any safety hazards;
  • Reporting workplace accidents and fatalities;
  • Providing employees protective equipment; and
  • Distributing all OSHA safety guidelines to employees.

For their part, OSHA guarantees workers:

  • Can work free from retaliation for any reporting of a violation;
  • Have the right to information and training about hazards;
  • Work in an environment free of risk;
  • Can request on-site testing for hazardous conditions; and
  • Have access to records of workplace illness and accidents.

 

Why Are OSHA Guidelines Important?

he OSHA workplace and warehouse safety guidelines don’t just exist to lay down rights and responsibilities — they were devised to help workers avoid serious injury or death. In 2017, OSHA reports that 5,147 American workers were killed on the job — that’s more than 14 people per day. More than 20% of worker deaths occurred in the construction industry, highlighting the serious risk that construction workers can face on the job. The majority of construction worker deaths occurred from four primary reasons: falls, being struck by an object, electrocution and being caught between spaces. OSHA’s safety precautions, such as those that regulate the proper way to operate a forklift, specifically target these “Fatal Four,” as it calls these risks. If these four risks could be eliminated, OSHA reports, the lives of nearly 600 American workers would be saved every year.

While OSHA is a common name in warehouse and construction settings, it’s important to understand the background of the agency, as well as the goals of its guidelines — to ensure you follow its regulations to protect yourself, your co-workers and your employer.

 

About Tom Reddon

Tom has been involved in the forklift industry since 1986. He loves doing research, blogging, and speaking about forklifts. You can contact Tom on his Twitter or Google+ profiles.

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