Holiday Workplace Safety

Source: Josef Polc - 123RF

Online shopping reaches its peak over the next month during the holiday season and workers fulfilling merchandise orders can be injured by improperly-stored materials.

For warehousing establishments, the 10 OSHA standards most frequently included in the agency’s citations were:

1. Forklifts;

2. Hazard communication;

3. Electrical, wiring methods;

4. Electrical, system design;

5. Guarding floor & wall openings and holes;

6. Exits;

7. Mechanical power transmission;

8. Respiratory protection;

9. Lockout/tagout; and

10. Portable fire extinguishers.

About 100 employees are killed and 95,000 injured every year while operating forklifts in all industries. Forklift turnovers account for a significant percentage of these fatalities.

As you click to confirm your purchase, the wheels on the other end click into high gear to get your purchase to your door in time for the holidays.

Consider the hazards while locating and prepping your order for dispatch.

OSHA advises:

  • Stack loads evenly and straight;
  • Place heavier loads on lower or middle shelves; and
  • Remove one object at a time from shelves

Training, evaluating, and certifying all operators is key to ensure that they can operate forklifts safely;

Employers should:

  • 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; and
  • Ensure workers drive safely, never exceeding 5 mph – and slow down in congested areas or those with slippery surfaces.

A high volume of school and college students, as well as temp workers will be part of the workforce during the season.

OSHA recommends that the temporary staffing agency and the host employer set out their respective responsibilities for compliance with applicable OSHA standards in their contract.

Including such terms in a contract will ensure that each employer complies with all relevant regulatory requirements, thereby avoiding confusion as to the employer’s obligations.